06/17/2010 12:00AM

Cardiff Giant a dangerous California shipper


Cardiff Giant heads a strong field of 3-year-olds running in the $50,000 Western Canada Handicap at Northlands Park on Saturday. The six-furlong feature is the first step in separating pretenders from contenders pointing to the Grade 3, $300,000 Canadian Derby on Aug. 21.

Cardiff Giant, who finished second to Conveyance in the Grade 3 San Rafael at Santa Anita, easily has the strongest credentials in the eight-horse field. He will be making his first start since he came from well off the pace to finish second by a nose in a six-furlong $40,000 claiming race at Hollywood Park on May 28. He was claimed out of the race by owner-trainer Jeff Metz, who shipped him to leading trainer Robertino Diodoro's barn at Northlands. Cardiff Giant also finished third in the Grade 3 Southwest at Oaklawn Park but tested positive for clenbuterol and had the purse taken away. In his start prior to being claimed, he finished last in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby.

Cardiff Giant arrived at Northlands last Saturday and Diodoro likes what he has seen so far.

"He's sound and handled the ship real well," he said. "He's a small horse, which should help him adjust to the bullring. I really like the way he ran a big race sprinting after going a mile and an eighth."

There is plenty of speed to set up Cardiff Giant. Cool Kahuna likes to be on the lead and will be making his first start since he romped by 8 3/4 lengths in the $50,000 Canadian Juvenile at Northlands last October. Trained by Cody Anderson, Cool Kahuna also won the Birdcatcher and was voted the top 2-year-old in the province last year. Trained by Tim Rycroft, Gone in a Flash has scored easy front-running wins in both of his starts. In his only outing this year, he won a first-level allowance by 5 3/4 lengths June 5.

No Hesitation has good speed but doesn't need the lead and could be dangerous from a stalking position. He is coming off an impressive win over Alberta Premier Futurity winner Tiny Giant on May 29. Tiny Giant also is entered and is another one that likes to be involved early.