Wide barrier the main obstacle for Annavisto in Group 1 Coolmore Classic

Trainer Michael Kent Jnr is confident Annavisto returns to Sydney in career best form but he admits a visitor’s draw has tempered confidence ahead of Saturday’s Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens.

Annavisto is the $5.50 TAB favourite for the $600,000 fillies and mares feature, however she has been set a task to navigate a path from the tricky barrier 15 with just one runner to her outside.

Kent Jnr, who trains alongside Mick Price, is hopeful jockey Nash Rawiller can muster Annavisto early and land “somewhere in the first four” to give the daughter of Reliable Man every chance.

She comes into the race in excellent condition after winning the Group 3 Tressady Stakes (1400m) — a race she won 12 months earlier at Flemington — in the lead up to her Group 1 tilt.

“The dry ground suits, Rosehill suits and she is in career best form but she has to string two together,” Kent Jnr said.

“She generally goes very well fresh and she has only ever strung two together once in her life before but we are delighted with her.

“It would be a big thrill to win this Group 1 with her, she is definitely a Group 1 type mare, we just need things to go our way from the draw.”

Price won the Coolmore Classic with Aloha in 2011 but is aiming to snare his first win in the race in partnership with Kent Jnr.

Annavisto finished runner-up to Nimalee in the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes in her last visit to Sydney in 2022 and returns a more complete mare.

“Twelve months further on she is a lot more mature both physically and mentally,” Kent Jnr said.

“She is carrying a lot better weight, coping with training and racing a lot easier and definitely the second time travelling to Sydney is of benefit having been last year.

“She arrived on Thursday morning and I think she will run very well, but if she had a nicer gate we would have been a bit more confident.”

Kent Jnr confirmed the stable have plans to target the Queen Of The Turf Stakes again.


Sage advice from a champion trainer has Gerald Ryan focusing on what he can control when stable duo Brosnan and A Lot More Love take on red-hot favourite Zougotcha in the Group 2 Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens.

“I was always told by Colin Hayes, never be frightened of one horse,” Ryan said.

“If your horse is fit and well, you don’t know whether the other horse is.”

Zougotcha is the $1.65 favourite for the Phar Lap after trainer Chris Waller elected to scratch his star filly from the Group 1 Coolmore Classic due to a wide gate.

Waller has won six of the past eight editions of the Phar Lap Stakes.

Ryan, who trains alongside Sterling Alexiou, is hoping to cause an upset with his stable duo that come to the race through vastly different form lines.

Brosnan ($16) is coming off a sixth in the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes while A Lot More Love ($31) struggled to fire when failing to beat a runner home in the Group 1 Surround Stakes.

“The firm track will help Brosnan and the 1500m. We are happy enough with him,” Ryan said.

“A Lot More Love either had to run on Friday at Kembla or Saturday because I always had the plan of running her over 2000m.

“If she is going to run in the Vinery in a fortnight, she is going to have to run and if she doesn’t run well we will freshen her up and come back later in the carnival.”

The stable have elected to stay in Sydney with unraced colt Gustosismo and run in the Group 3 Pago Pago Stakes (1200m) instead of the Group 3 Black Opal Stakes at Canberra.

“He is thrown in the deep end first-up but you are on the float so why go three and a half hours in the float and back,” Ryan said.


Blanc De Blanc may well be the unluckiest filly in Sydney but a Golden Slipper berth remains within her grasp.

The Michael Freedman-trained juvenile will have one last chance to snare a spot in the $5 million main event in the Group 3 Magic Night Stakes (1200m) on Saturday at Rosehill Gardens.

But as it has been throughout her career, she will need tom overcome a horrible gate to earn a Slipper berth.

Blanc De Blanc ($3.70) has the dubious record of drawing gates 11, 12 and 10 at her past three runs and must overcome the tricky barrier 13 in this week’s $200,000 event.

“I scratch my head but what do you do,” Freedman said.

“She’s in great nick and we’ve just got to hope James (McDonald) can get a great passage on her and give her as good a run as he can from the draw.

“If she can get the right run, she has obviously got the ability to win a race like that and win her way into the Slipper but the barrier gods haven’t been too favourable to us.”

If Blanc De Blanc can win, she will get into the Slipper and Freedman believes she has the constitution to be able to handle the seven-day back-up.

But she’s not the only filly he’s hoping to have there on grand final day.

Freedman will head to Sunday’s Black Opal Stakes (1200m) with stablemate Madeira Sunrise.

Freedman, when still in partnership with his brother Richard, won the same event last year with Queen Of The Ball, who went on to finish eighth in the Slipper.

“I think it is a better option,” Freedman said.

“She has drawn a good alley down there and it just makes sense that it is a better race for her.

“If she can hold things better than she did the other day, I sort of put a pen through that run, because she ran her race before she went out.

“She seems to have bounced through it all right and her work has been really good.”

Originally published as Annavisto will need everything to go right from her wide gate in Coolmore Classic according to Michael Kent Jnr

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