Niggle could cost SW gelding a start

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Mitchell WoodcockSouth Western Times
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Just Act Natural, ridden by apprentice Kate Witten, is set for Saturday’s $100,000 Farnley Stakes (1400m) at Belmont.
Camera IconJust Act Natural, ridden by apprentice Kate Witten, is set for Saturday’s $100,000 Farnley Stakes (1400m) at Belmont. Credit: Simon Merritt / Western Racepix

Promising Capel gelding Just Act Natural will find out today if he is fit enough to race in Saturday’s $100,000 Farnley Stakes (1400m) at Belmont after a small niggle earlier in the week.

The Paul Roberts-trained five-year-old has a slight injury and will be put to the test this morning ahead of the big race.

“He just has to come through his final trackwork at Bunbury before he is 100 per cent certain to start,” Roberts said.

Roberts said barrier two was the ideal spot for the gelding, who was in hot form.

“He will lead as they cannot hold him and we will take a sit on him like we did last time,” he said.

Jockey Glenn Smith will take the reins again for the big race.

“He is a terrific rider and has won on him more times than anyone else,” Roberts said.

Roberts said last season Just Act Natural had a virus, so it took him time to find his form.

But since then he has won two of his past four races, while placing second in the others.

“He has finally matured now, which has helped him in a big way,” he said.

Roberts said he was happy with the weight handicap.

“He is a lot better handicapped this time than he was last up,” he said.

“The 55.5kg is perfect.”

This will be the first time Just Act Natural races over 1400m and Roberts said it would “suit him fine”.

“They go easy in the first half of the race and then sprint home,” he said.

“He can sprint as good as the rest of them.”

Roberts said Red Ora would be a threat after coming down in the weight.

“When you are in this grade they are all good horses,” he said.

“He (Red Ora) has been struggling as of late, but Daniel Morton is a good trainer and he has a good weight for this race.”

Smith and Roberts will combine later in the day when five-year-old Dutch Spy starts in the $40,000 Heineken 3 Handicap (1000m) in what is set to be a tough 11-horse field.

Dutch Spy won last up across the same distance after a spell and is looking for a fourth career win from 13 starts.

Adam Durrant’s Nashville Cat will provide the stiffest competition, having won twice in eight starts.

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