Snuff Gruffles To Hit Back by Julio Santarelli
Dan Morton can’t explain the run from Snuff Gruffles last fortnight but has ruled a line through the performance and believes supporters should do the same.
Snuff Gruffles produced the worst performance of her current campaign and blotted recent good form when tenth of 12 behind Hearts Aflutter.
Snuff Gruffles, ridden by William Pike, appeared to be travelling comfortably in fourth position before racing ungenerously and wide from the 800m post.
The Testa Rossa mare, who commenced the punters elect after consecutive second placings, was still in with claims at the top of the straight, but had enough over the final 100m.
The five-year-old grey, to carry 53.5kg with the claim of Kalgoorlie’s leading apprentice Felicity Ives, will seek to atone when she steps up to the 1600m of the KBC Foods Handicap.
“I think you just have to forget she went around,” said Morton.
“If she runs to her previous form she will be very competitive.
“The rise to the mile is no concern as she has the core fitness behind her.”
Snuff Gruffles confronts Kalahahni, who drops back in distance after a close third in the Golden Stayers Final (2200m) and Perth galloper El Rijes, stepping out for his Kalgoorlie debut.
Ives regains the mount on consistent mare Miss Heineken, who will contest the GPC Minesite Catering Handicap (1200m) from gate nine.
Ives won on Miss Heineken two starts back, one of two wins and two placings from the Kendel Star mare who is relishing her maiden Kalgoorlie campaign.
“She has been a model of consistency and has rarely run a bad race,” said Morton.
“The wide gate is a little awkward but she has the pace to work across.
“I rate her as one of my best on the programme.”
Morton expects improvement from stable mates Rocky Mist and Command Centre who will line up in the GPC Julie’s Events Maiden (1300m) and the Everett’s Butchers Handicap (1200m) respectively.
Rocky Mist was unplaced on debut at Narrogin earlier in February before venturing to Kalgoorlie last Sunday week and doing his best work late when third to Rock Of Honour over 1300m.
“He should be further improved by the run,” said Morton.
“Command Centre showed above average ability early before being cut down by injury.
“He should be fitter after his first-up run at Northam but it’s been a long recuperation.”
Hussation has been in work since March but displays no signs of slowing down and will chase his third win from ten starts this preparation in the Gold Plate Catering Handicap (1300m).
“He is locally owned and I’m getting a kick out of his performances,” said Morton.
“He is in peak form and won’t run a bad race.”
Morton is pinning his faith on senior rider Thomas Yeung to bring about a change of fortune for Hartley’s Hangover in the Blue Spec Catering Handicap (1300m).
The Flying Spur four-year-old resumed with an encouraging third to Zedream but was disappointing last time out when trailing the field behind American Mistress.
“He is a difficult horse to handle and a bit of a nemesis,” said Morton.
“He will need to improve or he could be moving on.”
Morton, with 12 wins for the season, sits in fourth position and trails Peter Fernie by seven in Kalgoorlie premiership honours.
It’s been a good return for the Perth trainer who established a satellite stable at the beginning of the Kalgoorlie season.
Morton said his father, Len, would head the stable operation full time until the end of the season in September.