Change Suits Crystal Sparkles

A change in a training routine has helped to revitalise Crystal Sparkles, who has charged home to win at her past two starts after a lean spell and a losing sequence of eight.

Eight-time premiership trainer in WA, Ross Olivieri said that racing the five-year-old mare three times in eight days early this month had been a factor in her return to top form.

“But I also consider that a change in training at home has helped,” he said. “I’m not hoppling her now, and she just gallops. She’s a lot sharper now since we’ve started galloping her. And she should be capable of contesting feature races for mares, particularly if local good mares continue to be sold to America.”

Crystal Sparkles surged home from sixth (three wide) at the bell to win from Amelias Courage over 2130m in a group 3 event for mares last Friday night a week after she went five wide on the home turn and flashed home from eighth at the 100m to get up and win from Rock Me Over over 2130m.

“She is a strong well-bred mare and I’m sure that she’ll be there at the finish of this week’s race,” Olivieri said.

Crystal Sparkles will start from barrier eight with Chris Voak in the sulky and her chief rivals could be the Mike Reed-trained Maczaffair and Just Rockon Bye, who will be resuming after a five-month absence for champion trainer Gary Hall Snr.      

Maczaffair is the class runner of the field and has the ability to overcome the disadvantage of the outside barrier (No. 9). The five-year-old has a losing sequence of 11 and although she has been placed at her past three outings (second to Purest Silk, third to Come Dance With Me) and second to Parisian Partygirl) those efforts have been disappointing.

“She has been disappointing at her past few starts,” Reed admitted. “But this is a massive drop in class for her, and she’ll be running on at the finish. She’s had a few problems, and hopefully, we’ve ironed them out. She must be a big chance, considering she ran third in the last Pacing Cup.” 

Serpentine trainer Matt Scott advised punters to overlook Cut Above’s 11th behind Crystal Sparkles last Friday night and they should consider the four-year as a sound place prospect as the only runner on the back line.

“On paper, he run last week looks terrible,” Scott said. “Shannon (Suvaljko) didn’t pull the ear plugs or blinds because Cut Above did not handle the mud. Two weeks again Cut Above beat Clarenden Hustler by three lengths on the track. They went 3min. 2sec. at Jandakot which is a pretty good time for there at this time of the year. No. 10 is a good draw and she is an opportunist.”