A look at the form guide doesn’t always give a punter an account of a horse’s true ability.
Trainer Heath Conners points to Clear Signal as a case in point.
Conners knew he had potential before he broke through for an upset maiden win on the Geelong synthetic track on July 18.
On Saturday the three-year-old makes his city debut in the VRC Members Pavillion Handicap (1000m) at Flemington.
Clear Signal was backed from $101 to $81 before winning at Geelong, a price that shocked Conners.
“I wasn’t shocked with the win. The shock was the price,” Conners said.
“They obviously looked at his first run, where he finished, then his trial and I suppose that’s how he came to be that price.”
On debut Clear Signal finished fifth behind quality two-year-olds Catchy and Property at Caulfield in January, beaten almost 20 lengths, before finishing sixth in a Cranbourne trial in the lead-up to his Geelong victory.
Conners explained Clear Signal sat outside the leader on debut before knuckling on the home turn. He then dropped out in the trial when he was hit in the eye with a shoe.
What is not in his form are his victories in unofficial jump-outs at Geelong.
Conners said Clear Signal was an incredibly big horse who last month tipped the scales at 590kg.
“The trials and the run has trimmed him up, he’s now about 12 kilos lighter and the only thing that’s going to trim him up further is racing,” Conners said.
Clear Signal is dropping in distance on Saturday and Conners doesn’t see that as a hindrance.
He believes the gelding will be able to adapt if beaten for early pace as he has settled behind the speed in jump-outs.
In Saturday’s race he tackles city winners Azazel, Wait For No One, Cao Cao and Indian Thunder and that will give Conners an idea of where the three-year-old sits in the pecking order.
“Every fortnight, after Saturday, there’s a nice race coming up,” he said.
“Depending on how he runs on Saturday will determine if we can step up to that grade.
“If he runs a nice race then we know we can start looking at the harder races, if not we can come back a little in grade.
“There will still be plenty of other races available.”