Ballarat sprinter By The Way will be looking to spring an upset at Caulfield after trainer Mark Lewis decided to make wholesale changes to his racing gear.
The six-year-old opened at $18 with TAB Sportsbet to win first up Saturday’s Roses Victoria Cup (1100m) but it could be way over the odds if he runs up to his trackwork and jump-out form.
Lewis has rung in the changes ditching By The Way’s nose roll and Norton bit, replacing them with blinkers, a tongue tie and lugging bit.
Lewis said that with the changes the transformation in By the Way had been exciting and he can’t wait for Saturday.
“He’s a Street Cry and it seems like the breed need blinkers so we gave him a couple of goes in them and he’s absolutely flown,” Lewis said.
“He ended up winning a jump-out by 10 lengths and ran really, really quick time.”
Lewis said without the Norton bit the horse also settled closer to the pace, giving him reason to believe the noted backmarker will be much more prominent at Caulfield.
“It is a good field, but I give him a sneaky chance at odds,” Lewis said.
“I am really looking forward to it.”
Lewis said By the Way, a winner of five of his 19 starts, was the soundest he had been for a long time which he attributed to keeping him in light work on a water-walker after his last run when he finished midfield in the Winter Championship Final (1600m) at Flemington in July.
“It seems like I have got him over the little problems he’s had like joints and knees,” Lewis said.
“I haven’t had to punish him as much to get him up this time and he seems to be thriving.”
Lewis said there was an abundance of options for By The Way over summer, particularly if the blinkers do the trick on race day and he can keep him to the sprints.
“There is the Christmas Stakes and the Standish but I just want to see how he goes on Saturday first,” Lewis said.
Apprentice Jake Noonan will ride By the Way who has drawn barrier 15, but without the four emergencies would start from gate 12.
“If we can get three deep with cover it will just be perfect,” Lewis said.
The three main chances Catapulted ($4.40), Miss Octopussy ($5) and General Truce ($5) have all drawn well in barriers four, eight and one respectively.