09/20/2012 12:05PM

Woodbine: Royal Egbert, perfect this year, heads Overskate

Michael Burns
Royal Egbert wins the Shepperton Stakes after leading gate to wire.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – The Aug. 6 Shepperton Stakes was bittersweet for owner/trainer Paul Buttigieg. He won it with his rising star Royal Egbert, but his big horse, Gypsy Ring, suffered a suspensory injury in the Ontario-sired stakes and might never race again. Royal Egbert will be back in action Saturday at Woodbine in the $125,000 Overskate Stakes, a seven-furlong sprint for Ontario-sired runners.

The rapid 4-year-old Royal Egbert is unbeaten in three starts this year, all in Ontario-sired company. He won a pair of Ontario-sired allowances in June and July and then led throughout the 6 1/2-furlong Shepperton to score by four lengths with an 87 Beyer Speed Figure.

“He’s doing real good,” Buttigieg said. “He worked [five-eighths] in a minute the other day. He doesn’t have to be on the lead. I think he’ll relax. He’s been going to the lead when there was nobody else in there. He’s always done it easy. Seven furlongs shouldn’t be a problem. They’ll have to run to beat him.”

Royal Egbert figures to link up on the lead with the swift Jenna’s Wabbit, one of two Ralph Biamonte trainees in the field along with Citius.

Jenna’s Wabbit has won 3 of 4 starts this year, all in stakes for 3-year-olds. He took the six-furlong Bold Ruckus on turf following a long layoff and then captured two Polytrack events, the six-furlong Achievement and the seven-furlong Deputy Minister.

Jenna’s Wabbit is meeting older opposition off a third-place finish on turf in the one-mile Vice Regent Stakes, during which he was hounded on the lead before fading in the final furlong.

Biamonte said more aggressive tactics will be employed Saturday.

“I think we have to let him run a little more at the beginning, rather than try to slow him down in the first quarter,” Biamonte said. “He’s got natural speed. He’s a lot better when he’s loose on the lead. The only time he’s gotten beat is when we tried to rate him.”

The 4-year-old Citius has been a solid middle claimer this year in sprints on both surfaces.

“I supplemented him,” Biamonte said. “I thought with a lot of speed in there, that he might be able to come on at the end. I just ran him, but he’ll be all right. He’s a big, strong horse. He’ll be a good backup.”

The Overskate could set up for the 2011 Vice Regent winner, Welloiledmachine.

After a slow start to his season, Welloiledmachine won his last two races, a nine-furlong optional claimer on the Polytrack and the restricted Halton Stakes on the grass.

Welloiledmachine is trained by Mike Keogh, who also sends out longshot Mobil Unit.