VICTORIAN trainer Mario Briganti has everything crossed ahead of Thursday night’s Group ! Sapphire Crown Final at Sandown Park, as he puts the polish on talented inside runner Angie Rocks.
Bred, reared and now trained by Briganti as his Tuerong kennels, the daughter of Kinloch Brae and Punk Rock Lass is the current $3.10 favourite with William Hill after her terrific 29.60 heat win last Thursday night.
Briganti is confident in her ability in the $100,000-to-the-winner final, however is adamant she will need luck to overcome her moderate beginning.
“The draw does help, but I’ve assessed the field and there’s a lot of early speed,” Briganti said.
“Her trials indicate that she won’t lead, but I’d like her to be sitting in the first few heading into the first corner.
“I’m hoping for a traffic jam and that she gets a run through because she is strong.”
Her biggest threats in the race appear to be triple Group winner Lamia Bale ($4), West On Delly ($5) and recent Ladies Bracelet winner, Elfen Bale ($7.50).
Now a winner of five from 11, Angie Rocks began her career in style, recording her first two victories at The Meadows, clocking fast times of 29.83 and 29.91. Her next win came at Sandown Park over 515-metres, where she came from behind to stop the clock in a sizzling time of 29.27.
“The ability is definitely there,” said Briganti.
“Her inexperience might be a downfall in this final because it will only be her 12th start on Thursday, but she’s doing everything right so far.”
Briganti opted to step the 28kg chaser up to the 600-metre distance last month, finishing 2nd and 6th respectively.
“It probably wasn’t the right thing to do stepping her up in distance. She had no luck with the box draws in both races and I don’t like the bend starts.
“My plan for the future will be to step her up again, but her forte of racing will happen in about four to six months’ time and I don’t like pushing young dogs too early.”
The Group 1 Sapphire Crown final is race six at Sandown Park on Thursday night and will jump at 8:52pm.