Coyle Hoping Class Drop Sees Air Finally Take Flight

Backmarkers by nature lose more than they win but trainer Jason Coyle is adamant enigmatic mare Air To Air is a much better horse than her one from 15 record reads.

Trainer: Jason Coyle
Trainer: Jason Coyle Picture: (Mark Evans/Getty Images)

Coyle points to the form around the four-year-old from four runs, all in Group company, this preparation as evidence of her ability but he's not running away from the facts.

With 54kg after Louise Day's 2kg claim, Coyle said Air To Air is well placed coming out of stakes company in the Agency Real Estate Handicap (1500m) - a race that has a sense of deja vu about it.

"I have no doubt she has a nice race in her somewhere but it would be nice to put a win or two next to her name,'' he said.

"If you want to play devil's advocate she's a winner of one race and that's a maiden at Kembla Grange so she deserves to be on the limit. She gets in really well, she has form around the right sort of horses."

Coyle can see a parallel between Saturday's race and Air To Air's last run of her spring preparation where she was beaten narrowly by Bigboyroy in a 1600m Benchmark 72 on Kembla Grange's The Gong meeting.

"Unfortunately in this grade we've been nosed out a couple of times so she should be a horse that's won a few races and has a stakes placing to her name,'' he said.

"We tried this last preparation, we had Hugh Bowman on at Kembla and James McDonald on one of Waller's nosed her out. She did everything but collect the winner's cheque on the day.

"If we can get her to win a race or two I'm confident she can really step up in grade and in the next 12 months I can put a stakes win against her name."

While a win would be a confidence boost for both horse and trainer, Coyle isn't willing to make drastic changes – he's learned that lesson before.

He said from barrier five there's a good chance the mare will have a few horses behind her but she won't be bustled to race out of her comfort zone.

"Horses have certain racing patterns and we try to find the right one for them,'' Jason Coyle said.

"I'm not going to muck around with it. I'm more than happy to leave her alone early and have her charging at them late.

"There's no doubt she's a little bit on the quirky side, she threw a race away one day at Randwick where she wanted to run off the track.

"I thought her racing manners this preparation have been spot on. The only hiccup was my fault and that was backing up in 13 days and staying at 1400m in the Dark Jewel.

"We just got left looking like we were a miler on the day."

Air To Air ran eighth behind Rocha Clock in the Dark Jewel at Scone on May 14 but she did record a valuable Group 3 placing, third behind Sweet Deal, in the Hawkesbury Crown on May 1.

She's regularly a sectional star, at Hawkesbury her last 600m of 33.48 (Punter's Intelligence) was just 0.04 slower than Sweet Deal and well over a length faster than anything else from the race.

Despite four meritorious efforts in Group races Air To Air was at $10 with TAB on Friday behind Love Tap ($3.30). Coyle would argue that margin shouldn't be so great.

"If you wanted to be brutal about it her form is better than his,'' he said.

"He's a more prolific winner but at the Group level of racing she's got some form around some pretty good horses."

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