The West

Trainer Darryn Pateman will use Sunday's Mungrup Stud Sprint (1300m) as the launching pad for an assault on feature autumn sprints with Caulfield Guineas placegetter Huegill.

Huegill is the leader in Pateman's three-pronged attack, also featuring Battle Emblem and Seize Control, in the $90,000 Mt Barker feature.

William Pike had been riding Huegill at trackwork, but starts a 30-day suspension after his Ascot commitments tomorrow and has been replaced by Shaun Meeres.

Pateman saddles up 2011 Pinjarra Cup winner Battle Emblem for the first time, having purchased the nine-year-old from Bob and Sandra Peters.

Pateman has long-range plans for Battle Emblem and Seize Control to spearhead his assault on middle- distance features in WA's north.

Andrew Webster and wife Emma bought Huegill from breeder- owner Stuart Ramsay for $95,000 at a Magic Millions sale on the Gold Coast last October.

Pateman has since gelded the four-year-old son of More Than Ready, who was prepared by Peter Moody to run third to Helmet in the $1 million Caulfield Guineas (1600m).

Pateman described Huegill as a dream horse to train.

"I have no idea why they sold him," he said.

"Maybe they thought he was not up to Group 1 company.

"We had him scoped and every-thing and all was clear. He is the kindest horse in the stable and I can't fault him.

"We've still got to learn a bit about how to ride him in a race.

"William was keen to ride him, but he got a holiday and we went for Shaun."

Huegill has drawn gate nine in a field of 12, and is on the 54kg limit with favourite Watermans Bay.

If Huegill performs as well as expected, he will be set for the $100,000 Bunbury Stakes (1400m) on March 10 and the $80,000 Pin- jarra Classic (1500m) 10 days later.

·The Carlton Draught Pinjarra Cup has had its prize money cut $15,000 from $100,000 to $85,000.

The Pinjarra Race Club already had trimmed its base stakes by $620 to save about $120,000 this season.

Chairman Phil Ibbotson said the cut was needed to pay for course improvements.

"We have distributed the money we were given from RWWA (Racing and Wagering WA) as best we can," Ibbotson said. "We needed money to fund projects and, like Northam, we had to reduce stakes."

The Northam Race Club cut $1000 from its base stakes to pay over $350,000 in bills for the use of scheme water to irrigate its track when bores and a dam dried up.

The $80,000 purse for the Pinjarra Classic on March 20 has not been changed.

The West Australian

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