Patinack closes in on two-year-old crown
By Warwick Barr
The trainer who honed his skills alongside the master conditioner of stayers is a serious contender to win the most number of two-year-old races for the Australian season.
John Thompson, who worked as Bart Cummings' Sydney foreman before becoming head trainer for Nathan Tinkler's Patinack Farm breeding and racing operation, has Gai Waterhouse in his sights in the race for national juvenile honours.
With 24 wins in two-year-old races for 2011-2012, Thompson is one behind Waterhouse and two in front of Darley Australia's trainer Peter Snowden.
"John has only been training a relatively short time so our two-year-old figures this season are a tribute to how quickly he has adapted to preparing young horses," Patinack Farm racing manager Robyn Hartney said.
"Obviously Nathan is right into the breeding side of things and there is a strong focus on the stable's two-year-olds.
"It's important for us that John can get the two-year-olds up and going."
Thompson hopes to make a decisive move in the next week with six two-year-old runners in three starts, spearheaded by Warwick Farm entry Headless.
Headless will make her Sydney debut on Saturday after a win and three placings in four Queensland starts.
Her victory came at her second run at the Sunshine Coast but Hartney said the filly's last-start Eagle Farm placing would be a true guide to her Warwick Farm chances.
"She finished second to Doubtfilly and that form got better and better in autumn with Doubtfilly running fourth in the Golden Slipper," she said.
With Hugh Bowman on board, Headless was kept on the bridle in a recent Randwick barrier trial placing.
Corey Brown takes over at Warwick Farm and Hartney expects the filly to sit on top of the speed from an inside barrier draw.
"She was never let go in the trial," Hartney said.
"She was hard held all the way but we'll see on Saturday that she is a real jump and run filly."
Patinack Farm's two-year-old entries during the next week could be spread between Rockhampton in Queensland and Echuca in country Victoria.
© Australian Associated Press Pty Limited (AAP) 2012
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