Co-trainer Simon Zahra is hopeful the addition of a tongue-tie to Rough Justice will spark the necessary improvement he needs to challenge the favourites in the All Victorian Sprint Series Final.
Rough Justice has not won for more than a year but is a model of consistency and goes into Saturday’s $150,000 sprint at Flemington after two placings at the same track this campaign.
Zahra and training partner Mathew Ellerton will put a tongue-tie on the gelding for Saturday’s 1200m straight race, with Zahra saying they believe the sprinter may have been sucking his tongue back, hindering his air supply.
“He pulled up a little bit thick in the wind the other day,” Zahra said.
“We thought we got him pretty fit and he pulled up and had a really good blow going into his last run and then he had a real good blow again on the Saturday.
“I said to Mathew I was pretty surprised by that because he’s pretty fit.
“So we’ve put the tongue-tie on him and we’re just hoping that makes a little bit of a difference, getting a bit more air into his lungs.”
Rough Justice has won six of his 33 starts, with another 15 placings, and has been beaten less than a length in his two starts this campaign.
Ability and Husson Eagle, the two horses who beat him last start, are on the top two lines of betting for Saturday at $3 and $6.50 respectively while Rough Justice is at $11.
“He’s a good horse and rarely runs a bad race,” Zahra said.
“Obviously the favourite is pretty smart and at the weights you’d think he would be hard to beat if he produces what he produced the other day.”
The effectiveness of a tongue-tie has been demonstrated by River Goddess’s recent form which includes two wins and a second from her past three starts.
“River Goddess has made good improvement and since we’ve put the tongue-tie on and taken the blinkers off her three starts ago she’s been a different horse,” Zahra said.
“She’s really putting it together but the worry would be the wide gate on Saturday.”
“What A Shock is going well and he’s going to put himself into the race again
“He’ll probably be a nice staying horse next time in.”