Scone trainer Rodney Northam is confident he’s found the right race for Shrewd As to bounce back into the winner’s circle at Bathurst on Wednesday.
The six-year-old, winner of six races from 23 starts, lines up in the Bill Aspros Cup (1300m), named after the retired local champion jockey.
“I’m confident he’ll run well,” Northam said.
“He’s a horse that jars up on hard ground and needs give in the ground to produce his best.
“Conditions should be perfect for him tomorrow.”
Add the rails barrier and the services of jockey Greg Ryan and Northam’s confidence appears well placed.
Shrew As jarred up after his last-start eighth to Pesci in the Black Nugget over 1600m at Mudgee on September 4.
“I gave him a bit of time to get over the run and freshened him up,” Northam said.
“And trying to find a suitable race has been difficult.
“He’s a much better horse in wet ground.
“We’ve tried a few different things with him shoeing-wise, nothing has really worked. The bottom line is he performs best with the sting out of the track.”
By Shrewdy out of the Bletchingly mare Rocchetta, the gelding has two wins and two thirds from five starts on slow tracks, confirming Northam’s theory.
Northam has been pleased with the gelding’s progress since Mudgee.
“He’s good, I’m happy with him,” he said.
“There are a lot of things in his favour at Bathurst, the good barrier, good weight (54kg) and top jockey (Ryan).”
Shrewd As last scored in a 1450m Benchmark 65 event at Muswellbrook on July 25, four starts back.
Dropping back to 1300m is also in Shrewd As’ favour.
“His best distance is probably between 1200 to 1400 metres but he can run a mile (1600m),” Northam said.
The Cup attracted six entries with Orange trainer Peter W Stanley saddling up Dane’s Jewel (Robyn Freeman-Key) and True Jeune (Justin W Stanley).