Rod Northam has included stable star Big Money among several sprinters he says will have their autumn carnival bona fides assessed in the Expressway Stakes.
“There are question marks over a few of them and probably a question mark over my horse as well because he hasn’t won a race in a little while,” Northam said.
In a race that acts as a weight-for-age curtain-raiser to the autumn, Northam is counting on Big Money having a fitness edge over first-up rivals Our Boy Malachi and Generalife at Rosehill.
Five of the eight Expressway acceptors are resuming and Northam is hoping his decision to give Big Money a lead-up run will work in the sprinter’s favour.
“The plan was to give him a trial and a gallop between races and originally I was going to run him first-up in the Expressway,” Northam said.
“But I thought he could have gone into the race a bit underdone first-up so I was happy enough to give him a run, a hard hit-out, and he should be fit enough to run a good race.
“I’m expecting him to run pretty well.”
The latest of Big Money’s nine wins came during a Brisbane summer carnival campaign in 2014, continuing the six-year-old’s affinity for Queensland racing.
He earned honourable mentions when given his chance in three Group One races during the winter in Queensland before a Sydney drought continued when he was beaten into the minor placing at Randwick two weeks ago.
Northam has a theory about Big Money’s lack of Sydney success as he welcomes back regular jockey Robert Thompson after apprentice Koby Jennings had the Randwick ride.
“He’s never won a race in Sydney and I’ve got a few horses like that,” Northam said.
“They win in Brisbane but not in Sydney. I like my horses to relax and hit the line and on-speed horses seem to win the races in Sydney.”
Big Money has been shunned in early Expressway betting, drifting from $7.50 to $11 as the favourite Our Boy Malachi firmed from $2.80 to $2.40.
Our Boy Malachi, shooting for his 18th win in 22 starts, will step out for the first time since he bled in the Doomben 10,000 and later suffered colic.
Joe Pride wants rain for Group One winner Tiger Tees’s return but a wet track will put a doubt on second favourite Generalife resuming in the race.