Geisel Park Stud geared up for a big week ahead when Justa Lil Faith won the TABtouch Betting Experience Hcp (1400m) at Geraldton on Wednesday.
The 3yo grey daughter of Vert De Grece (Ire) landed right behind Brisance in running and then loomed up to the front-runner in the straight before going clear under Tash Faithfull. It was her second win in five starts since transferring to local trainer Julia Martin and part-owner Peter Maver.
Justa Lil Faith (Photo / Western Racepix) was bred by Geisel Park manager Conor Dunlop and his partner Rachel Skinner. She’s by former resident sire Vert De Grece (Verglas) and is the final foal from Len Craddock’s mare Oh So Regal (Scenic) from the family of his grey gazelles from the 1980s – Jungle Dawn and Jungle Mist.
Geisel Park’s new sire Manhattan Rain can lift his profile at home and abroad with Jigsaw in the G2 Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday and Packing Treadmill in the HKJC Classic Mile (1600m) on Sunday.
Jigsaw has won four in a row up to 1100m and trainer Cindy Alderson reports she’s never had him in such good shape. “I can’t fault him. He’s been strong through the line in all four wins so he’s earned a step up to 1200m.
“I don’t think the Valley is necessarily going to be a problem. He’s drawn in so it will come down to how much pressure there is from the gates.”
Jigsaw has opened a $3 favourite and will be attempting to follow I Am Invincible mare Marabi who claimed the LR Christmas Stakes (1100m) – G2 Australia Stakes (1200m) double last season.
Manhattan Rain’s HKJC star Packing Treadmill completed a hat-trick on Christmas Eve to earn a start in the HK$12 million Classic Mile on Sunday. He will be ridden by Zac Purton and is the favourite with overseas bookmakers in a top-class field of 4yo imports.
In its race preview on Friday, South China Morning Post did have reservations noting he’s bred to excel over shorter distances and that Purton’s chances of a first Classic Mile will hinge on the tempo at Sha Tin.
Geisel Park giant-killer Laced Up Heels will ramp up her much-anticipated autumn campaign in a 1000m barrier trial at Belmont on Monday morning. Her main goal is the $5 million All Star Mile (1600m) at Moonee Valley on March 18.
Laced Up Heels (Toronado) blotted Amelia’s Jewel’s otherwise perfect score-card in the LR Burgess Queen Stakes (1400m) at Ascot on Melbourne Cup day and trainer Luke Fernie is really happy with the way she has come back into training.
“She did unbelievably well in the paddock and her work suggests she’s bigger and stronger which is fantastic. The plan is to go east first-up for the Kevin Hayes Stakes (1200m) at Sandown on February 11.”
Laced Up Heels was a $100,000 buy for Geisel Park owner Eddie Rigg at the 2021 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale. She stunned an Ascot crowd beating Amelia’s Jewel just hours after Gold Trip (Fr) stopped the nation at Flemington.
Their return clash will have to wait until the spring with news Amelia’s Jewel will stay in Perth for the $4million The Quokka (1200m) at Ascot on Saturday, April 15. Unless, of course, Laced Up Heels returns west with a month to freshen up after the All Star Mile.