Trainer David Smith has Country Championships ambitions for The Poet — but the sprinter must win the Class 1 Handicap (1400m) at Orange on Monday.
“If he can win this he’ll have a crack at the Country Championship Qualifier in February. You’d be mad not to have a crack at a $150,000 heat while you’ve got the opportunity,” Smith said.
“Next time he comes in he’ll be fully furnished. He’s about 85 per cent there, mentally.
“Brendan Ward got off him last start and said ‘he’s still all legs but once he balanced up he lengthened for me and fought back well’.”
The Poet has shown glimpses of potential with a win and two placings from his six starts and comes into Monday’s race off a third placing at this track three weeks ago.
“I’m going over there with my confidence pretty high,” Smith said.
“He’s a nice horse on the way up and it doesn’t look like an overly strong field.
“I definitely want to see him in Highway grade. I think he can take that step up and win a Highway or two. It’s probably another preparation away but it will be good to end this preparation on a winning note.”
Chris Williams takes the reins on The Poet at Orange.Source:AAP
Chris Williams takes over from Brendan Ward on Monday and he’s got to do it out of barrier 11 which is no issue for Smith who feels it will enable his horse to find the best part of the track.
“There’s a couple that go forward and I think he can land one out, one back,” Smith said.
“I think it can work out for us because the way you’ve got to ride Orange is to come off heels and there’s a fast lane four or five off the fence so I don’t mind him drawing there.
“I haven’t stepped him up to the mile yet and Chris is in good form so hopefully he can win this one for us.”
Need The Yen lines up later on the day for Smith in a Class 2 Plate (1280m) and his form on paper doesn’t read great.
If he can produce the run he put in three starts ago at Narromine when second then he’s a chance and Smith wouldn’t rule him out.
The Poet has shown glimpses of potential with a win and two placings from his six starts.Source:News Corp Australia
“He’s definitely an each-way hope out to the 1280m,” Smith said.
“He could find the lead a little more comfortably and if things go his way he can knock a race off like this.”
Top Mate is the other Smith runner today, in the first race over 1400m, and he hasn’t been seen for more than a year when running last at Grafton.
He’s by Zoffany and we won’t see him at his best for at least a few more runs as he goes up in trip.
“He’s a genuine stayer who is a one-pacer. He’ll run 13 second sectionals all day long but he’s been off the scene for a long time,” Smith said.
“He’s looking for 2400m already.”
COLT PROSSER WANTS CUP IN CHRISTMAS STOCKING
Colt Prosser has a number of Christmas wishes, one of them will have to wait until Boxing Day — the 2020 Woop Woop Cup.
The race is run at Prosser’s home track, Wauchope, and whilst it is a Non-TAB meeting, it one of the Club’s biggest meetings of the year with a feature race that could be run in Australia.
Prosser could have a few irons on the fire in the 2020 Woop Woop Cup including River Darl, a close relation to Lee Freedman’s 1995 VRC Oaks and VATC One Thousand Guineas winner, Northwood Plume.
River Darl, a product of former Manning Valley resident stallion Home On The Grange, posted her first win at start number six when breaking through, albeit by the narrowest of margins in a Bowraville Maiden over 1370m.
On Monday, Prosser has her lining-up John McGee Memorial Benchmark 58 Handicap run over 1900m.
‘’She has always shown me she is going to want a trip and she is my Woop Woop Cup horse so I have to give her a run over some ground because the Cup in an 1800m race at home on Boxing Day so that’s my plan for her,’’ Prosser said.
The three times TAB Highway winning trainer was in sunny Sydney on Saturday with Highway contenders, Tallis and Slice Of Heaven, but it will be a much different Kempsey with torrential rain sending the track into it’s heaviest range.
That was a great disappointment to Prosser who has ‘the only More Than Ready in the world that doesn’t like wet tracks’ in More Patasi now only a fifty/fifty chance of taking his tally of 198 winners closer to the double century.
‘’He probably should have won his last couple,’’ Prosser said. ‘’He has been going very good but I am just really worried about the track. We have got a Heavy 10 on Monday and I took him to Coonabarabran and I thought he would win there but it was a Heavy 10 there and he didn’t handle it so I will just have to toss up whether I take him I guess.’’
Originally published asOrange preview: Writing on the wall for The Poet
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