Affable Canberra trainer Rado Boljun oozes confidence that Clever Hans can break back into the Cup winners’ list in the Merimbula Cup at the Sapphire Coast on Friday.
After winning the Cowra Cup on January 16, the four-year-old gelding finished runner-up in the Parkes and Bega Cups before an excellent last-start nose second to Handsome Stash over 1550m at Canterbury on February 23.
“It’s time for a change, I’ve had enough of running second,” Boljun said.
“It’s time Clever Hans got the verdict.
“After his work this week, I’m so confident he’ll win. Really, I don’t see any dangers.
“He’s drawn a great barrier (one), can lead or take a sit.
“We’re ready and raring to go.”
Clever Hans has an important gear change in Friday’s $15,000 Cup over 1600m with Boljun removing the blinkers.
“He’s been racing a bit too keenly at his past couple of runs,” he said.
“I don’t normally work him in blinkers but with them off, he might just settle a touch better.”
Two starts back Clever Hans was beaten 1-1/4 lengths by Friday’s rival, the Luke Pepper-trained Quichang, in the Bega Cup (1600m) on February 6.
Clever Hans, to be ridden by two-kilogram claimer Shaun Guymer, meets Pepper’s gelding on 2.5kg better weight terms which Boljun says is a vital factor.
“The weights are a big turnaround in our favour,” Boljun said.
“The most important thing though is if Clever Hans can get cover, he’s an even better horse. He’s a good beginner, you can park him anywhere and he finishes off his races.
“I thought the rider went a bit too early in the Bega Cup. Tomorrow Shaun, who rides Clever Hans trackwork and knows him well, will be a little more patient.”
The Viscount gelding, previously owned by Darley and purchased as a tried horse in Melbourne for $20,000, is raced by Greek-born Michael Athanasiou.
“He’s never missed getting a cheque since we’ve had him,” Boljun said.
“He’s very strong and no matter how hard the run he always comes home and licks out the feed bin, loves his tucker, just like me.
“If he comes through tomorrow I’ll aim him at the Wellington Cup.”
The 1800m Wellington Cup is on March 27.