The ballot order is his enemy but former English hurdler High Bridge is attracting a groundswell of support to make an unlikely run towards Australia’s best spring staying races.
High Bridge posted his second win from as many Australian starts, thanks to a level-headed Kerrin McEvoy ride, at Warwick Farm on Wednesday.
McEvoy showed the guile that has won him two Melbourne Cups to bring High Bridge from awkward spot on the turn with a winning run between horses in the Hyland Race Colours Handicap.
High Bridge landed in Australia as a stayer with a low rating after his northern hemisphere career was restricted to mostly jumps racing.
A horse with a similar profile in Australia would be considered far too slow for Flat racing but trainer Chris Waller says it is different in England.
“He’s a pretty good horse and I can’t underestimate how good a jumper has to be to win the types of jumping races he’s won,” Waller said.
“Through buying horses from Europe and that end-of-year sale we go to, we’re often talking to jumps trainers.
“They’re looking for good, fast horses. He’s one of them and he’s got a pretty bright future.”
High Bridge is entered for the Group One Metropolitan at Randwick on Saturday week for which he has the minimum 50kg.
Of the 79 horses left in the ballot for the $750,000 race, the premier staying event of the Sydney spring carnival, High Bridge was 77th going into Wednesday’s race.
On face value High Bridge would appear to face a monumental task to make the field but it hasn’t stopped bookmakers halving the eight-year-old’s quote.
He now shares the fourth line betting at $11 with stablemate Brimham Rocks the $6 favourite.