Fri | Nov 27, 2020

Perfect fit for Bonnie Blue Flag

Published:Friday | March 23, 2018 | 12:00 AMAinsley Walters/Gleaner Writer

PERFECT NEIGHBOUR has a run under his girth after returning off a near seven-month lay-up on February 28, a strong second-place finish behind super-fit ORPHEUS, and should stamp his class on this afternoon's open allowance for the Bonnie Blue Flag Trophy.

An outright two-turn horse and strong runner out of the mile chute, PERFECT NEIGHBOUR ran on for second, with topweight 57.0 kilos, in the 1500-metre King's Plate, showing that he is ready to make his way back to grade one.

Since then, he has sparkled at exercise, clocking 1:13.2 for a six-furlong gallop last Saturday morning, even though outclassed by stablemate and Horse of the Year SHE'S A MANEATER, who stopped the clockers' watches in 1:12.4.

Considering PERFECT NEIGHBOUR was only three-fifths of a second behind SHE'S A MANEATER in that spin, roughly three lengths, it signals bad news for Patrick Lynch's ANOTHER BULLET, one of his five rivals.

Carrying 50.5 kilos, ANOTHER BULLET tried to keep pace with ORPHEUS in the King's Plate, but was no match up the lane and was passed by PERFECT NEIGHBOUR a half-furlong out.

Burdened with 54.0 kilos and venturing a longer distance in a rematch with a now race-fit PERFECT NEIGHBOUR, ANOTHER BULLET's chances will diminish with every extra half-furlong he runs.

PERFECT NEIGHBOUR's stablemate, HOVER CRAFT, is really light at 50.0 kilos and was razor sharp when he made every post a winning one, taking out DONTAE at a mile a month ago. He is known to have sprung upsets like this in the past, but will be too busy fending off the likes of UNCLE TAF and DONTAE to find extra when PERFECT NEIGHBOUR comes calling.

DaCosta has added incentive to start cranking up his championship machinery. Caught in the unfamiliar position of trailing his perennial rival, Anthony Nunes, by $2.89m approaching the end of the first quarter, the 16-time champion trainer needs all the help he can get from his old guard, eight-year-olds PERFECT NEIGHBOUR and HOVER CRAFT.

After watching his three-year-old brigade fall woefully short in the Thornbird and Prince Consort Stakes last weekend, DaCosta's cupboard looks bare heading into next month's 1000 and 2000 Guineas, a double which he took last year with SHE'S A MANEATER and FEARLESS SAMURAI, setting up a 13th consecutive trainers' title.

With DaCosta's three-year-olds sputtering, Nunes nearly $3m out front and playing the claiming game as well, the champion trainer has been dusting off the likes of PERFECT NEIGHBOUR and HOVER CRAFT in a bid to keep pace before he unleashes SHE'S A MANEATER in the major grade one races this season.