A trio of Phillip Stokes-trained sprinters will be out to upstage red-hot favourite Garner in Saturday’s $100,000 TAB W H Wylie Handicap (1100m) at Morphettville.
Bookmakers have installed the Gordon Richards-trained Garner a $1.85 favourite for the Listed feature following a slashing return to racing in Melbourne recently, but the Stokes stable believes it has two genuine knockout chances.
Seemingly Discreet was super impressive first-up from a spell, while Shamino took his racing to another level in Adelaide during the May carnival, beating Garner in the Manihi Stakes at the same track and trip.
Kayla Crowther will ride Seemingly Discreet, who has been targeted at this race and should have taken plenty of benefit from a soft three-length win when resuming.
“Kayla couldn’t really split the pair,” Tommy Stokes said.
“I had (Seemingly Discreet) quite underdone for that, so I think that should have topped her off nicely for this.
“This has been her main target this prep.”
Stokes said looking at times and knowing the improvement left in Seemingly Discreet gave him plenty of confidence heading into the race.
“Off that run, if she naturally improves, she’ll definitely give him (Garner) a run for his money,” Stokes said.
“That race rated very similar to when Shamino beat Garner in the Manihi; he’s a very nice horse but it’s a very good race.”
Stokes said he couldn’t fault Shamino for his return, given the way the horse steps up each and every time under race conditions.
“Shamino is $10 and his form is almost faultless,’’ Stokes said.
“He’s probably no better than last prep; his trials were good without being impressive, but he steps it up on race day.
“If he runs top four we’ll be looking at him going to Melbourne.”
And there will be plenty of SA interest in Melbourne this Saturday when stablemate Octane returns off a short freshen-up at Caulfield, with Damien Lane replacing the suspended Jamie Kah in the saddle.
“Dad’s just freshened him up, just ticked him over,” Stokes said.
“He wants to see him over the 1100m at Caulfield.
“If he gets around there good he could be a light weight chance in those bigger races. He mentioned the Toorak… mainly the handicap Group 1 races."
Stokes said the stable was left scratching its head with the performance of Quietly Discreet first-up when beaten into fourth spot behind Mileva. Quietly Discreet clashes with Keep On Bopping on debut for the stable.
“She’s (Quietly Discreet) a tricky one,” Stokes said.
“She promises so much but come race day doesn’t put it together.
“We’ve taken the blinkers off, she’s stepping up in trip, which I’m not sure is ideal.
“On track work she’s better than the other horse, but he does have a lot of talent.
“I think he’s a very nice horse, but not much beats Quietly Discreet in trackwork.”