Canterbury races: Nathan Doyle hoping get his Pulse racing with a win under lights

The festive season is about to start and racing will be a part of it on Friday nights over the summer at Canterbury Park, starting this week.

The Friday night Canterbury meetings during the summer often attract a bigger crowd than the next day’s Saturday meeting due to the fete-like atmosphere for families.

COVID-19 restrictions will limit Friday night’s crowd to 4000 which will still provide a healthy feel around the track.

Friday night could kick off a bumper 24 hours for Newcastle trainer Nathan Doyle, who has Rhythmic Pulse running in the Evening Star (1250m).

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The Canterbury night racing season kicks off on Friday night. Picture: News Corp AustraliaSource:News Limited

The Your Song five-year-old has got a wide gate (13) which would be a blow to Doyle but he’s got the horse going better this time in after a couple of average runs to end his last campaign.

“It’s his second preparation with us and he’s settled a lot better this time in and trialled up well so I’m keen to get him to the races,” Doyle said.

Rhythmic Pulse’s second-up record (3:2-0-0) suggests he might be better backing next start but his trainer is trying to get him running tonight like he’s already had a run.

“It says he goes better second-up and that’s why I gave him two trials this preparation,” Doyle said. “I did that to get that first-up run out of the road in that second trial and he’s ready to go.”

Doyle’s weekend can get better tomorrow at his home track for The Hunter meeting and he’s got three runners shooting for wins, led by Strawb.

The five-year-old Fastnet Rock mare lines up in a Benchmark 78 Handicap (1400m) first-up off a 12-week let-up.

She ran second in both lead-up trials and Koby Jennings will ride her from barrier five and settle just in behind the speed.

Sandown Guineas winner Petrology races for Nathan Doyle at Newcastle on Saturday. Picture: News Corp AustraliaSource:News Corp Australia

“She’s quite an exciting mare for our stable,” Doyle said.

“Her work on Tuesday morning filled me with plenty of confidence leading into Saturday where we know we’re going to get a dry track.

“I think she’ll be quite hard to beat on Saturday if everything goes well.”

Strawb has won four races from seven attempts so far and ended her last preparation with a 12th placing at Randwick in her first go at a Saturday race after bush domination.

Doyle said that shouldn’t put punters off and it hasn’t because she’s a $3.90 favourite for Saturday’s race.

“She’s a very good mare but just doesn’t go on wet tracks, even soft ones, so you just put a line through that last run on the Kensington track,” Doyle said. “She’s in great order and has taken the necessary improvement from her first preparation to this time in.

“I don’t know where she gets to but I’m pleased to have her in my stable, that’s for sure.”

Doyle will also race Café Royal in a Benchmark 72 Handicap earlier on the card and she too has built an exciting record (7-4:1:1) which should be even better after Jennings sat up on he for a stride a few runs back and cost her a race.

He rides her from gate 11 tomorrow while Louise Day has got the ride on Petrology in the last race for Doyle.

Meanwhile, Natalie Jarvis is hoping the weather forecast in the hours leading up to the $100,000 Snake Gully Cup (1400m) proves correct so her horse, Airfree, gets a chance to win the race.

The six-year-old mare is the outsider of the field but can run above her odds if there’s enough juice in the track. And Jarvis isn’t concerned about her long price because she’s used to that.

Jess Taylor rides Airfree in the Snake Gully Cup for Natalie Jarvis. Picture: Simon BullardSource:News Corp Australia

“When she won the Moruya Cup she was at long odds that day too,” she said.

“She’s going well. She had a little bit of trouble when she first came back in this preparation so she’s been in work quite a while and has come good now.

“She’s had a couple of jump outs at Moruya and has gone well in those.”

Airfree has won twice and placed a further three times from seven first-up runs and although she hasn’t been seen publicly since running fourth on the Sapphire Coast in June, she’s been given a good ground or today’ target race.

“We were able to give her a 1200m jump out last week. The club put on a longer jump out which was really helpful because we were worried about going to 1400m first-up having only done 800m jump outs,” Jarvis said. “We got her to work pretty solidly in that jump out and we were happy with how she went in that.”

Jess Taylor’s ride form barrier 12 will be just as important as the track condition for Airfree.

“She always goes right back anyway so the barrier isn’t really an issue for her. More of an issue is the shape of the track,” Jarvis said.

“Having to make a run from the back can be a little tricky at Gundagai and this is a strong field so it’s hard to go in confident that she’ll just win.

“I find it a tricky track to work out because of the dogleg and the ride is really what makes a difference at Gundagai. She’s raced there before too.”

Jarvis said if the rain doesn’t come it will benefit her other runner Ile De Re, in the third race.

“She really needs a drier track. She’s just happened to be in races where we’ve had huge downpours just before the meetings,” she said. “She’ll definitely perform better on a direr track and she’s been working well at home.”

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Originally published asCanterbury preview: Rhythm of the night suits Doyle

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