Nailing the delicate balance of maintaining a horse’s fitness while keeping them mentally fresh can require pinpoint accuracy and trainer Gerald Ryan is hoping he has got the mix right with Bottega.
An undoubted talent, the entire has disappointed at his past two starts, over-racing when finishing down the track behind Rocha Clock at Randwick in April then turning in a perplexing performance when sixth to Laure Me In in the Scone Cup last month.
While Bottega was on the worst part of the track at Scone, Ryan still expected him to attack the line better than he did.
“The track was funny, you couldn’t be on the inside, you had to be winning out wide but in saying that, I still felt he was a little disappointing in the straight,” Ryan said.
The four-year-old has been kept fresh since that effort and will go into Saturday’s Precise Air Handicap (1800m) at Rosehill with three weeks between runs.
Ryan is hoping it’s enough to spark the multiple stakes placegetter into form.
“He’s a horse who doesn’t cop a lot of work, you can overcook him very easily,” he said.
“But we’ve kept him fresh and kept him well and he seems good within himself.”
Two early scratchings have secured Bottega’s stablemate and first emergency Amica a place in the Winter Cup field, and Ryan is looking forward to testing her over 2400m for the first time.
A last-start sixth over 2000m in the Lord Mayors Cup, a good performance could open the door to the staying races over the summer.
“When Brenton (Avdulla) first started riding her, he always said she’d get a mile-and-a-quarter, then just the way she went the other day, it gave us the impression we should give her a go at this distance now,” Ryan said.
“We will only give her the one go, she will probably have a break after tomorrow and get ready for the late spring.
“If she can get a mile-and-a-half now, in the summer on those firm tracks, she might be able to go around in those nice staying races.”