Rolling Pin part-owner Matthew Sandblom has warned his horse will engage Fat Al in battle in the Emirates Stakes today.
Despite the horrible barrier 19 draw, Sandblom brushed aside concerns his Kembla Grange-trained star wouldn’t be able to race in his favoured forward position in the $1million Group 1 finale to the Flemington carnival.
Gai Waterhouse’s Fat Al wore down Rolling Pin in their last duel in the Epsom Handicap with Ambidexter, another Emirates contender, splitting the pair in second.
Fat Al will jump from barrier five with Tommy Berry in the saddle, but Sandblom said Rolling Pin, who will benefit from the services of leading Sydney rider Hugh Bowman, would be able to pour the pressure on the fancied runner over 1600m.
‘‘He’s drawn a bit wide, but there doesn’t seem to be a super amount of pace in the race so he should be able to go forward and be outside Fat Al I’d imagine,’’ Sandblom said.
‘‘If you look at the last few years of The Emirates there’s generally been a big pack of them swooping at the end and not the frontrunners winning,’’ he said.
‘‘Maybe that is because the pace has been strong. I think that will determine who the winner is – how hard they go up front – and whether it’s a frontrunner’s track or a swooper’s track by the last day of the carnival.’’
Trainer Gwenda Markwell was forced to play a waiting game to secure a jockey for the Shannon Stakes winner today.
Black Caviar’s regular pilot Luke Nolen was booked for the mount, but was rubbed out for 12 meetings as a result of his Melbourne Cup ride on Lights Of Heaven on Tuesday.
It’s a situation not unfamiliar to connections, who were forced to use apprentice Chad Schofield as a raceday replacement in the Epsom Handicap as Christian Reith was indisposed.
Bowman has taken the ride today after Myer Classic-disappointment Streama was scratched early yesterday.
‘‘You need the senior jockey on [Rolling Pin] most of the time,’’ Sandblom said.
Rolling Pin, who resumed from a short freshen-up with a seventh behind Fontelina in the Group 2 Yellowglen Stakes (1200m) on Derby Day, will be spelled following his most testing assignment.
Sandblom said the Markwell-trained five-year-old ‘‘needed the run’’ and would relish the mile.
‘‘It is a step up from the Epsom and he is up a little bit in the weights as well, but most of the other horses are too,’’ he said. ‘‘Gwenda’s been training him the reverse way of going before he went down ... so he should be able to handle the left-hand way.’’