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Monday, May 29, 2023

Messara weighs up chance at Big Dance with in-form Akasawa

The lure of a ticket into the $3million Big Dance for talented galloper Akasawa has drawn Paul Messara to today’s $40,000 Mannion Drilling Gunnedah Cup (1600m) – and the trainer has his fingers crossed it is the right call.

If Akasawa is to win his way into the Royal Randwick feature later this year he will have to do it with 63.5kg because the Gunnedah Cup is weighted as a country race and the five-year-old has a 95 rating. Messara said there was no doubt that Akasawa is in peak form coming off a dominant win in city grade at the Scone carnival; he just doesn’t know how much weight is too much.

Scone trainer Paul Messara.

Scone trainer Paul Messara.Credit: Tertius Pickard

“The horse is going well, it’s just what the tipping point will be,” Messara said. “When you’re putting 63.5kg on it’s a bit like lifting the weights at the Olympics: they lift 101kg above their head and they put 102kg on and they can’t lift off the ground. It’s just where the tipping point is, and I don’t know where that will be. Whether it’s too much and will anchor him down, we won’t know until the day.”

In Messara’s estimation, the gelding is a robust horse, and that’s why he is rolling the dice. Akasawa carried 60.5kg to his runaway win over 1700m at Scone.

“Realistically, I wouldn’t have been going to this race if it wasn’t a Big Dance eligible race; I’d be waiting until next week at Rosehill,” Messara said. “There’s an 1800m race there that would have been perfect for him.

“I don’t know if I’ll regret my decision but it’s a shot at a lottery ticket, so that’s what we’re doing.”

Akasawa will ultimately be carrying top weight in the Gunnedah Cup because the two horses weighted above him in the race have claimed away from their weight, but that was never in Messara’s thinking and he is happy to retain Aaron Bullock.

“The draw is perfect, he’ll be doing no work. I’d prefer to carry the weight and put on a senior; Aaron knows the horse very well,” Messara said.

Supplied by Racing NSW
Full form and race replays available at racingnsw.com.au

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