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Shorter trip the key for Pohutukawa in Eagle Farm G3

Mike Hedge

A return to her preferred distance range is expected to result in a return to form for the Stakes-winning filly Pohutukawa (Corey Brown) in Saturday’s G3 Fred Best Classic at Eagle Farm.

Pohutukawa indicated well above-average ability when she won the G3 Kembla Grange Classic over 1,600m in March beating subsequent Stakes winner Frankely Awesome, only to find the 2,000m slightly beyond her when sixth in the G1 Vinery Stud Stakes at Rosehill six weeks ago at her only run since.

But trainer James Cummings has given the filly time to freshen up and is looking forward to the switch back to 1,400m on Saturday.

“The drop back in distance is necessary after she failed to convince us over 2,000m last start,” Cummings said.

“Wet track or dry, she’s ready to produce on Saturday.”

Another looking to rediscover peak form is Duca Valentinois (James McDonald) who runs in the G3 Lord Mayor’s Cup, a race in which he scored his most recent victory 12 months ago.

Duca Valentinois finished fifth to Mahalangur in the Listed Scone Cup when second-up from a spell last start and Cummings expects him to have benefitted from the run.

“He got back in a race that wasn’t run to suit backmarkers last time out, but still attacked the line well,” the trainer said.

“He’s wound up now and ready to produce the run of his campaign.”

Savatiano (Tommy Berry) has been close to a win during her current preparation and has the chance to improve on her last-start second to the American filly Con Te Partiro at Scone when she runs in the G3 Glenlogan Park Stakes.

“She might have run into a good one at Scone and she wasn’t far away,” Cummings said.

“She’s been an extremely consistent filly who deserves the chance she gets here.”

The stable’s attempt to maintain its run of Stakes race successes for a sixth successive Saturday also includes the handy sprinters Haunted and Bandipur in the Listed Straight Six at Flemington.

Haunted (Craig Wiliams) has only been out of a place once in 13 starts and scored the sixth win of his career when successful at Caulfield on 20 April, a run he followed with a third placing behind subsequent G1 winner Despatch in Adelaide.

“He finished third to the Goodwood Handicap winner last start, so there’s nothing wrong with that form,” Cummings said.

Bandipur (Craig Newitt) had won two on end in Melbourne before his latest fourth over 1,000m at Flemington a week ago.

He wasn’t as sharp as his opposition last week, so he could be perfectly suited by the 1,200m,” Cummings said.

“He’s weighted to score the second stakes win of his career.”