Ajeeb the best of the rest in Aust Guineas
- Glen Boss
If the enthusiasm of a jockey and the admiration of a trainer could be channelled into a horse, the talented colt Ajeeb would have an outstanding chance in Saturday's Australian Guineas at Flemington.by AAP
By Mike Hedge
MELBOURNE, March 1 AAP - If the enthusiasm of a jockey and the admiration of a trainer could be channelled into a horse, the talented colt Ajeeb would have an outstanding chance in Saturday's Australian Guineas at Flemington.
Ajeeb is the leading contender in the race-within-the-race behind the $1.30 favourite All Too Hard, a ranking his rider Glen Boss accepts, but only grudgingly.
"On his win at Sandown last start he'd be the favourite in most three-year-old races," Boss said.
"It had to be seen to be believed, what he did was amazing ... it was ridiculous."
Ajeeb came from the outside gate in the 1500m race at Sandown and was six wide for the first 400m before working across to sit outside the early leader.
From the halfway mark he led on the outside and at the 400m he crossed and duly kicked away to win by 2-1/4 lengths in a fraction of a second outside the course record.
"When you lead and you're one off the fence and you've got a horse up inside you it's very rare that you win," Boss said.
"It's the worst spot you can be in, but he kicked away and kept going."
Boss and trainer Mick Price acknowledge Ajeeb may lack the class and experience to make a race of it with All Too Hard.
But they are confident that situation will change.
"He wasn't entitled to win at all at Sandown," Price said.
"But he did and he's done well since, he's shown no ill-effects.
"He's clearly a superior colt and he'll be even better next preparation."
Price said he is conscious of the possible negatives of running such a promising horse as Ajeeb against a champion, but he's convinced the colt can cope.
"I don't like to see good young horses go outside their boundaries," he said.
"The easy decision would be not to run, but he deserves to be given his chance.
"I'm satisfied that he'll cope."
With a dead track at worst now likely at Flemington, All Too Hard is entrenched at the shortest price he's started for what will be the final Melbourne run of his career.
All Too Hard will continue his campaign in Sydney and possibly go to England, but that, almost certainly, will be all.
Spokesman for his owners, Vinery Stud general manager Peter Orton, said the timing would be perfect for retirement in time for the next stud season beginning in September.
"I can't see him racing on as a four-year-old, he's done all he needs to do," he said.