Erkelens says two runners on a par with each other

Trainer Justine Erkelens of Muchea says The Escort had to do a fair bit of work and was on the pace a long time in his previous start on March 20. Picture: Anita McInnes

THE Justine Erkelens-trained The Escort is the third favourite in a 2200m handicap tomorrow at Ascot while Friar Away who beat one of his stablemates on March 20 is not attracting anywhere near as much attention.

Erkelens of Muchea said she cannot separate two of her three runners in the Morley Growers Market Handicap (2200m).

While seven-year-old Friar Away was bred to stay and six-year-old The Escort was new to distance races she thought they were on a par with each other.

“Friar Away is made for the trip but The Escort has been running the distance too,’’ she said.

In their last start on March 20 Friar Away appeared to settle better and have more in reserve in the final stages of the race.

But she said The Escort had to do a fair bit of work that day and was on the pace a long time.

She said a lot depended on how tomorrow’s race unfolded.

Trainer Justine Erkelens says Friar Away is bred to stay and likes to be up on the pace a bit. Picture: Anita McInnes

“It depends if Friar Away gets stuck on the rail – he doesn’t like that and he likes to be up on the pace a bit.’’

Both geldings will carry 55kg with Friar Away to start from barrier 13 while The Escort has drawn barrier 10.

Jockey Peter Knuckey retains the ride on Friar Away with jockey Kyra Yuill retaining the ride on The Escort.

She also has Acermetric, to be ridden by apprentice jockey Kristy Bennett in the Morley Growers Market Handicap.

Erkelens other starter tomorrow is Big Screen in the Mumm Champagne Maiden (1500m) where he is the second favourite.

Yuill, who rode the Sessions and Motion Pictures gelding when he won a 1000m trial at Belmont early last month and a 1000m handicap race on March 13 where he finished sixth, retains the ride tomorrow.

The three-year-old has drawn barrier 5 and will carry 57.5kg.

Erkelens said although Big Screen was pretty new to racing and had only had a few starts he was bred to get over a trip.

  • An earlier version of this story failed to mention Acermetric’s inclusion in the Morley Growers Market Handicap – the omission was due to the journalist’s error.