Three talented South Australian mares coming from three very different paths look set to fight out the Listed JRA Plate (2006m) at Morphettville on Saturday.
Andrew Gluyas’ Arugamama ($2.40), the Will Clarken and Niki O’Shea-prepared Second To Nun ($2.90) and The Map ($5.50), from the Dan Clarken and Oopy MacGillivray stable, dominate the TAB market but it is extremely difficult to line them all up.
Arugamama comes through a narrow last-start Flemington defeat, a brave effort behind Aurora’s Symphony and Herman Hesse in a BM100, which looks strong form for this.
Second To Nun has come along in leaps and bounds this preparation, turning a corner when the stable stepped her up a mile for the first time on New Year’s Day (the furthest she’d run before then was 1300m), and now she’s rattled off four-straight wins for apprentice Rochelle Milnes, including the $107,250 Strathalbyn Cup (2050m) last week.
The Map is the best-performed of the three, having shown her class with a dominant victory over 2800m at Flemington on Melbourne Cup day, but she comes into this race first-up.
Gluyas is thrilled with how Arugamama has continued to thrive after that trip across the border but certainly won’t be taking his rivals lightly.
“The Map is proven at the distance and has the class and Second To Nun has come through her grades and deserves to be respected,” he said.
“(Arugamama) has come through that Flemington run very well. From that start we had a few options with her, we settled on this race and have prepared her accordingly.
“She presented quite well during the week and we’re excited for Saturday.”
Evergreen hoop Jason Holder reunites with the four-year-old mare and should enjoy a lovely run just behind the speed, assuming Milnes and Second To Nun push forward as expected, while Lachlan Neindorf and The Map are likely to get back in transit.
“She’ll probably be in the first few you’d think and we’ll take it from there,” Gluyas said.
A black-type victory would be significant for all three – none of them have that on their CV – but they’ve all got different goals.
The Map is on a path to the Group 2 Adelaide Cup, Arugamama is likely to have her grand final in the Group 3 Lord Reims Stakes while this is the 10th run of Second To Nun’s campaign and she is being tested at the level for the first time.
It shapes as a fascinating contest, with Victorian mares Typhoon Bec ($7) and Let Fly ($14) the only other runners under $26.
Meanwhile, Gluyas is hopeful Manhatten Times’ strong second-up form can come to the fore when he steps out in the eighth race on the card.
The five-year-old sprinter, who has been backed from $15 into $9, was solid in the Listed Durbridge Stakes first-up, 2¼ lengths behind Aitch Two Oh, but he’s won three from five second-up and the Morphettville trainer says he’s come on from that effort.
“It was an even run the other day and perhaps he might’ve needed it, so second-up at 1100m, he ought to be around the mark I think,” Gluyas said.
“He’s got a bit of an awkward barrier (nine) but he does race well with room.”
Originally published as SA mares Arugamama, Second To Nun and The Map hold the aces in JRA Plate