Viv Greybe: Sarel von Willingh Smit-trained four-time winner Notacademicatall has the credentials to land his first Pinnacle Stakes win at Flamingo Park on Monday when teamed up with Francois Herholdt and contesting Race 5 over 1600m.
Herholdt has a fine association with this four-year-old in eight starts – winning twice and finishing second six times. Partnered by Herholdt and carrying 60kg, Notacademicatall won impressively by eight lengths in his penultimate outing.
Then stepping up in class and sent off favourite again, the consistent gelding was not disgraced under 58kg as he finished a clear second out of 13 in a 1600m Pinnacle Stakes. With the confidence gained from that run and shouldering a similar weight, he could go one better this time.
He will, however, have to contend with Jarett Rugg-trained three-time winner Master Runner (52kg) with in-form Jarryd Penny aboard again. This six-year-old stunned punters in his penultimate outing when carrying 60kg over 1600m and scoring by five lengths. He held form under 59kg next time when finishing second out of 14 over the same distance. The gelding takes on much stronger opposition today, but carrying only 52kg he could make his presence felt.
Five-time winner Nicklaus (Muzi Yeni) out of Corrie Lensley’s stable has scope for improvement. This seven-year-old ran on stoutly in his penultimate outing when third in a 1000m Pinnacle Stakes. His subsequent run, when carrying 62kg with apprentice Dennis Schwarz up and unplaced over the same distance can be overlooked as he lost ground at the start. The gelding must be respected today when racing over his most effective distance, more so, reunited with Yeni who had earlier won on him three times.
Also in with claims is six-time winner Saint Marco (Ryan Munger) from Stephanie Miller’s stable. This five-year-old followed three placed runs in top events with a smart two-length win in a 1800m MR 83 Handicap. Best of the others are Two Gunsy and Ahead Of Traffic.