Blinkers key to Title's Missile chances
By Mandy Cottell
Joe Pride has cautioned punters to disregard Title's indifferent first-up record, instead pointing to his superior performances in blinkers.
The six-year-old will resume in the Group Three Missile Stakes (1200m) at his home track of Warwick Farm on Saturday and Pride has elected to put the shades on.
Title has been vulnerable first-up in the past with just one win from five attempts.
That victory was in the Listed Lightning Handicap at Randwick last spring and Pride believes punters should use that performance as a guide to Title's Missile Stakes prospects.
"He is a dead set blinkers horse," Pride said.
"He's worn them once first-up and he won the Lightning. I think that's a more accurate guide."
Pride has pinpointed the Missile as an ideal early spring target for Title, whose three stakes victories have all been at Listed level.
Along with fitting blinkers to him first-up, Pride has also given the gelding two barrier trials in preparation for his return.
"I've got away with only one in the past sometimes but I've given him two on this occasion," Pride said.
"I really wanted to have him as good as I could going into this race. I think there are going to be limited opportunities for him in the spring and this looks like a good opportunity."
Title is one of eight acceptors for the first Group race of the Sydney season along with Darley's Pinwheel and Centennial Park from the David Payne stable.
Earnest Ernest was a dual nominee and Pride had hoped to accept with him for both the Missile and the Warwick Farm 100 Club Handicap (1100m).
However, under the rules dual acceptors are made an emergency if one of the races they are paid up for attracts a full field.
That happened with the Benchmark 80 race so Pride pulled the pin on any thoughts of running in the Missile to guarantee Earnest Ernest a start in the 1100m event.
The seven-year-old has been racing in career-best form with Pride crediting his rejuvenation to age and maturity.
"He's flying. He's a very honest horse," he said.
TAB Sportsbet's opening market for the Missile had Pinwheel the $2.40 favourite ahead of Title at $3.80.
Welkom Gold, who will back up from his second to Said Com at Canterbury last weekend, was third pick at $6.
© Australian Associated Press Pty Limited (AAP) 2012
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