A difficult barrier draw has left country trainer Peter Nestor philosophical about Izababe’s Cameron Handicap chances on Wednesday.
“There’s nothing you can do and we’ll have to take what we’ve been given,” he said about the bush star’s outside alley in the feature sprint race of the Newcastle Cup carnival.
Izababe, a winner of 10 races from 14 starts, takes an unconventional route for his first foray into Group racing after winning the Moree Cup under 61.5kg.
“I know it’s unorthodox going to a Group Three race through the Moree Cup but I’ve got to back my judgment,” Nestor said.
“Whether he is a Group Three horse I don’t know but if he turns up he’s not out of it.”
Izababe broke a 20-year track record in the Moree Cup.
The record was previously held by Tiny’s Finito, an iconic figure of bush racing from the late 1980s to the mid 1990s.
Izababe, with Robert Thompson in the saddle, drops to the 53kg limit on Wednesday as he takes on runners from powerful Sydney stables, Crown Lodge and Tulloch Lodge.
Nestor said his confidence about Izababe’s chances received a boost after he put the gelding through his paces on Monday.
“The Cameron is the race I’ve had in mind with him since the start of this preparation and he worked strongly this morning,” he said.
TAB Sportsbet rates Izababe as at least a top three chance, posting the Dubbo-trained galloper as the $8 third favourite.
Neeson, with Hugh Bowman taking over from Christian Reith, has opened favourite at $3.20 with the Peter Snowden-trained Raspberries on the second line at $5.
Supporting the Cameron Handicap on Wednesday will be the Group Three Spring Stakes.
Snowden will saddle up two runners – last-start Ming Dynasty winner Ambidexter and the improving Trapunto.
However it is Tulloch Lodge’s Just The Tonic who has opened favourite at $2.60 with trainer Gai Waterhouse calling on Queensland-based jockey Chris Munce for the ride.
Just The Tonic will be out to complete a hat-trick after Canterbury and Rosehill wins last month.
Trainer John Thompson, meanwhile, has called on apprentice Tim Bell to ride the Patinack Farm team for Newcastle.
Bell, who recently linked with Patinack’s Brisbane operation, will partner Boys On Tour for stable in the Spring Stakes.