By Jonny Turner
Roxburgh trainers Geoff and Jude Knight’s pairing of Deus Ex and Ferritts Sister head to Winton on Thursday ready to overcome wide draws.
Both pacers bring excellent form to the meeting have looked ready strike in their recent outings.
Whether they can convert their run of recent placings into victories on Thursday will largely rely on how they and driver Matthew Williamson will handle starting from the outside of the mobile arm in barrier 8.
Deus Ex has returned south after running a creditable third, when rushing home from last before the turn, in Watch Me Now’s South Of The Waitaki event at Addington on Show Day.
“It was a huge run at Addington, if you go and look at his sectionals he went super,” Geoff Knight said.
“I wouldn’t usually back him up so soon after a trip like that, but he is bouncing around the paddock and he has come through it really well.”
“In that field on Thursday, he has to be a big winning chance.”
How Deus Ex will negotiate barrier 8 will be completely left up to Williamson.
The five-year-old has versatility, giving the reinsman plenty of options.
“We will just leave it up to Matt, what he wants to do at the start,” Knight said.
“He has got options, whether he wants to go forward or back, he will have to make a decision at the start.”
Santanna Mach looks the hardest horse for Deus Ex to hold out.
The Michael House trained pacer has produced two good efforts in his last two starts in stronger races, won by Memphis Tennessee and Franco Santino.
Ferritts Sister faces the same challenge as Deus Ex, starting from barrier 8 behind the mobile over 2400m in race 9.
The six-year-old has been handed her second tricky alley in a row after running into third behind Swell Time at the same track on Sunday when starting from barrier 1 on the second row.
“It was a good run, she was held up a little bit, but she ran on really nicely,” Knight said.
“And 20m after the post she was really powering through the line.”
“The preferential barrier draw makes it tricky, but she can still win from the outside in that field.”
Making up ground on a fast 27.5sec last 400m again showed how much Ferritts Sister is enjoying being back in the South Island.
After notching her first two wins for the Knight stable, the mare scored three more wins when campaigning from Nicky Chilcott’s Cambridge stable.
“It was probably a little bit easier for her up north and Nicky did a great job with her.”
“But we decided to bring her home and she has gone three great races since she has been back.”
Fireball, who has a slight advantage of starting from barrier 6, looks the toughest horse for Ferritts Sister to beat.
The four-year-old was second in smart time behind Sheeza Sport in his last start at Forbury Park.
The Knight stable also line up Jack N Jazz, with Williamson in the sulky, in race 5.
The seven-year-old has had adjustments made to gear in an attempt at getting him more interested when he returns to Winton after a lacklustre sixth there on Sunday.
“We have made some gear changes and put pull down blinds on him to try to get him on the bit,” Knight said.
“Matt said on Sunday he pricked his ears down the straight and he wasn’t that interested.”
“I can’t say strongly that he will run in three, but if he was at his best he would be a chance.”