All Summer Long has put himself in trainer Greg Bennett’s team for the Country Championships with victory in the Highway Handicap at Randwick.
The astute Scone trainer hopes to have four runners in the heat of the Country Championships to be held in his own back yard on February 20.
Bennett hopes All Summer Long’s win over 1200m on Saturday will lift his rating high enough to make the race in which he will also start Invienna, Chivadahlii and Clearly Innocent.
“That should get him in the heat now,” Bennett said.
“We’ve been deliberately working towards that race with these horses and hopefully we can get one or more to the Country Championships.”
The weekly Highway Handicaps are restricted to horses trained in the country with 10 lining up in the latest edition.
All Summer Long ($4.60) raced on the pace and overhauled the leader and race favourite Lord Von Costa ($4) in the straight to win by 1-1/2 lengths.
Invienna ($6), the winner of a Highway race in October, finished 10th of the 13 runners, five lengths from the winner.
“I’ll have a look at her and see what happened,” Bennett said.
“But if she’s OK she will run at Scone.
“Clearly Innocent runs at Mudgee tomorrow and that should top him up for the Scone race two weeks later.”
The first two in the heats of the series go through to the Country Championship final with a wildcard race at Muswellbrook to decide the final places in the final.