With Highway Handicap experts Matt Dunn and Matthew Dale giving other trainers an opportunity at Rosehill, Cameron Crockett sees his greatest competition possibly coming from within his own stable.
The Mudgee horseman has two runners listed for Saturday’s Class Three Highway Handicap (1800m) for country-trained horses and finds it difficult to split the claims of seasoned combatant Barbass and fellow three-year-old Kingsbridge who races at this level for the first time.
Crockett has a high opinion of Kingsbridge, who has a 5.5kg weight advantage over his stablemate.
“He’s got a weight advantage over Barbass (58.5kg) but Kingsbridge is a new kid on the block to this level of racing. I’d prefer to keep him in my area but there’s no races for him,” Crockett said.
He expected Kingsbridge to benefit from the expertise of in-form apprentice Rachel King who is familiar with putting horses on the speed through her association with the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott stable.
“Rachel rides a lot for Gai so the instruction will be ride it like he’s Gai’s. Be positive and be up in the first three or four.”
Crockett says it is imperative Kingsbridge not drift to midfield or worse because he loses his competitive instincts.
“I don’t if that’s a nervous thing or he’s got no turn of foot or a combination of both,” Crockett said.
Barbass, who will be ridden by Hugh Bowman, makes his third attempt at a Highway after fourth placings at Randwick and Rosehill over 1400m in April and earlier this month.
“You know when the pressure goes on Barbass still is thereabouts,” Crockett said.
Crockett was encouraged by Barbass’s last start win at Dubbo over 1620m as a lead-in.
“He didn’t beat them on his ability as a miler, he just outstayed them. I’m hoping up to the 1800 he can keep rolling like he did over the mile,” he said.
Murwillumbah trainer Dunn leads Canberra’s Dale 10-9 in Highway wins.