Racing: Todd Howlett takes aim with triple threat in town

EXPERIENCED: The Todd Howlett-trained Nic's Vendetta winning a Highway Handicap at Warwick Farm on July 8, 2017. Picture: AAP Image/Jane Dempster
EXPERIENCED: The Todd Howlett-trained Nic's Vendetta winning a Highway Handicap at Warwick Farm on July 8, 2017. Picture: AAP Image/Jane Dempster

Lower Belford trainer Todd Howlett is hoping good rather than bad luck comes in threes when he heads to Rosehill on Saturday.

Howlett has Magic Beneteau in the 1100-metre class 2 highway handicap, Nic’s Vendetta in a benchmark 80 handicap over 1200m and Dalmatia Prince in the benchmark 85 over 1500m to end the program.

“It’s the first time I’ve had three in on a Saturday in town,” Howlett said. “But it’s hard to find races for them once they are up in grade.

“They are hard races. It’s hard when you’re up in that sort of company, but the horses are going well.”

Magic Beneteau, a $21 shot with TAB Fixed Odds, was second last start at Quirindi and is third back from a spell. The four-year-gelding will start from the extreme outside.

“His form isn’t the best of the three but his work is good enough though for him to be competitive, I would hope,” Howlett said.

Nic’s Vendetta, a five-year-old gelding, has won two highway handicap for Howlett, including a class three in April at Randwick, and has placed and Scone and Warwick Farm since. He was a $12 chance despite the drawing the widest gate.

“Barrier 13 of 13 makes it pretty hard,” Howlett said.

“And he’s up in grade, but he’s honest.”

Dalmatia Prince won first-up at Canterbury on June 27 and was an $18 chance for Saturday. The four-year-old gelding is the only one of Howlett’s trio drawn well and will start in barrier two.

“The horse is really well, he’s up in grade and his last win was good,” he said. “With a bit of luck, he’ll go good again.”

AAP reports: It has been two years since Danish Twist won a race and she will get one more chance before retirement in the listed Winter Stakes at Rosehill.

The Kris Lees-trained mare hit a purple patch of form two years ago when she put four wins together including the Provincial Championship final, the group 3 Dark Jewel Stakes and listed June Stakes.

Her best recent effort was third behind Prompt Response and Egyptian Symbol in the group 2 Breeders' Classic in February.

Danish Twist

Danish Twist

She is slated to go to the broodmare barn in a few weeks and Saturday's Winter Stakes (1400m) will be her likely swansong.

"This will probably be Danish Twist's last run before she is retired to stud," Lees said. "She hasn't won for two years, but we know she has the ability. We're hoping she can go out on a winning note."

Visiting New Zealand apprentice Sam Weatherley has the ride on Danish Twist. Jason Collett rides Reach For Heaven, Bochy and Upscale for Lees on Saturday.

Bochy, which will have blinkers, won a benchmark 65 handicap (1500m) on June 17 at Muswellbrook before running third in a 1900m-race at Canterbury on July 4.

"I just felt putting blinkers on him might help as he is coming back 100 metres and he's going to Saturday grade as well," Lees said.

Bochy runs over 1800m while Upscale sticks to 1100m after her first-up sixth at Rosehill on June 30.

"Even though I knew she would take benefit from the run, I felt she was a bit plain all the same," Lees said.

"She is fitter and hopefully the blinkers will switch her on."