Clockwise Classic focus for Cumani pair

By: Craig Brennan Friday 22 November 2019

Local trainer Matt Cumani does not expect the reshaped Ballarat track to have an impact on the way the Magic Millions 2YO Clockwise Classic is run, but admits he cannot be certain.

First held in 2012, the Clockwise Classic used to be run on the tighter of two turf tracks, but with the inner grass course replaced by a synthetic surface, Saturday's race will go ahead on the main outer track.

Cumani initially thought the new track, with improved camber, may suit backmarkers, although results from the jump-outs have not reflected that.

But Cumani did caution that the results were inconclusive as the fields for the right-handed jump-outs were restricted to only four or five runners while Saturday's race over 1000 metres has attracted a field of 11.

Every runner has participated in a clockwise jump-out at Ballarat with the exception of the Hawkes Racing-trained Pounce, who underwent his early education with two barrier trials in Sydney before his fifth in the Debutant Stakes.

Cumani has two Clockwise Classic runners, Comparsa and Opicina, both bought for a tilt at Saturday's race with the possibility of progressing to the Magic Millions 2YO Classic at the Gold Coast on January 11.

"To ensure they got into this race we got them up and going relatively early which meant we trialled them in the earlier of the clockwise trials," Cumani said.

"It worked well in that they got the education, but they were unde- subscribed trials with only four horses in each, which means you don't know where the horses sit."

Since 2012, the Gold Coast feature has offered a $500,000 bonus which is split between the first four all-female owned horses across the line in January's Magic Millions 2YO Classic.

Both Cumani horses are owned by all-women syndicates and with Cumani's sister Francesca holding a share in Comparsa and his wife Sarah a stake in Opicina, there will be some friendly family rivalry on Saturday.

"Opicina is a little small and compact, but what you want to see in a two-year-old," Cumani said.

"She gallops well, has plenty of speed and I'm hopeful she'll fit into the race quite well.

"Comparsa though has gone through a bit of a growth spurt and I have a feeling she may take a little bit more time and distance."

Opicina is the better fancied of the pair at $34 with Comparsa a $61 chance.

The Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained Rathlin was the $3 favourite in TAB Fixed Odds markets on Friday.