04/20/2011 12:55PM

Teide vs. Noosa Beach at Hastings


VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Trainer Dino Condilenios thinks Teide is ready for a big effort when he makes his first start of the year in the $50,000 George Royal Stakes at Hastings Friday. The 6 1/2-furlong sprint for older horses attracted a full field of 11 horses, plus St Liams Halo on the also-eligible list. First post is 1:20 p.m.

Teide will need to be at his very best to defend his title in the George Royal. Noosa Beach, the 2010 horse of the year in the state of Washington, has been entered and will likely be favored.

Teide, the 2009 horse of the year in B.C., was somewhat of a surprise when he won the George Royal last year. Perceived as more of a route horse than a sprinter, Teide showed uncharacteristic speed. After forcing the early pace he drew off to win by 4 1/2 lengths while posting a final time of 1:15.20, which is .20 of a second off the track record.

Condilenios likes the way Teide is coming up to the George Royal.

“He is obviously a year older but he is training awfully well,” said Condilenios. “Similar to last year, I have been pretty easy on him. He isn’t the kind of horse that needs to go out and fire bullets. It is a tough race, especially with Noosa Beach, but I expect him to run well.”

Noosa Beach will take some beating. The last time he ran at Hastings he finished third in the 2009 Grade 3 British Columbia Derby, which was won by his stablemate Winning Machine. Trained by Doris Harwood, Noosa Beach has been a bear since then, winning six races from seven starts, all at Emerald Downs. His win over Jersey Town in the Grade 3 Longacres Mile was elevated when Jersey Town upset the Grade 1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct.

“I have no expectations,” said Harwood. “He’s ready to go and he handled the track well in the derby. We also had a lot of fun up there and I’m looking forward to coming back.”

Senor Rojo, the local horse of the year last year, will be starting for the first time since he won the Grade 3, 1 3/8 miles Premiers Oct. 10. He has looked great on the track this spring but he clearly wants more distance.

Sassou, third in a $50,000 claiming race at Santa Anita March 27, guarantees an honest pace.