Miniature Man to withstand Amy The Butcher
MINIATURE MAN has worked himself back into competitive shape, two runs off a 10-month lay-up, looking especially sharp at exercise last Sunday morning in preparation for Saturday's non-restricted overnight allowance at a mile for the Alsafra Trophy.
Standing between last year's 2000 Guineas winner, MINIATURE MAN, and a return to the winners' enclosure is Anthony Nunes' filly, AMY THE BUTCHER, who is up in class and on a hat-trick, returning this season a rejuvenated horse since being bought privately and moved to the champion trainer's barn.
AMY THE BUTCHER first beat non-winners-of-three at seven furlongs mid-April, returning off a near four-month break, before repeating at the trip against non-fours. However, the higher she climbs, the more her tail gets exposed.
Against non-threes, AMY THE BUTCHER could have sauntered behind an opening half-mile of 47.1 before taking over to win in 1:26.3. Stepping up to non-fours on Labour Day, the opening splits were quicker, set by SUPER DUPER, ALEXA'S DREAM and TAURUS BOY, quitters on whom AMY THE BUTCHER could have easily pounced at the top of the lane, but clocked a noticeably slower 1:28.0.
Attempting a third straight up-in-class victory, going even longer, AMY THE BUTCHER has run smack into MINIATURE MAN, who galloped 1:28.0 out the mile chute on a fast track Sunday morning, the best piece of work he has put down since last season's classic campaign.
MINIATURE MAN announced his arrival with a 27-1 upset at a mile, three weeks before last season's Kingston Guineas prep in which he returned to dead-heat with the big favourite, FURTHERANDBEYOND, a finish which is still being debated.
At the peak of his powers in the Guineas a month later, MINIATURE MAN clocked 1:39.3, beating FURTHERANDBEYOND into third place. However, he bounced in the St Leger after two hard races, finishing sixth, not seen again at the races until May of this year, making his seasonal debut in a six-furlong event mauled by MAHOGANY.
Back two weeks later in a five-furlong sprint won by GOD OF LOVE, MINIATURE MAN ran evenly, finishing fifth of eight runners, but only seven and a quarter lengths behind the winner, who had three and a quarter to spare on runner-up LABAN, Richard Azan's run-on sprinter returning to frank the form at five furlongs straight last Sunday.
AMY THE BUTCHER is no pushover, being classic-placed last season, second in the Oaks behind SHE'S A WONDER, and a far better horse this season, which gives MINIATURE MAN no room for error against her. However, the old adage of a good colt/gelding against a good filly, especially being close at the weight, going a distance of ground, swings the pendulum to MINIATURE MAN.