Trainer John Thompson is hoping for a turnaround in his stable’s fortunes when he splits his stakes runners between two states this weekend.
While Thompson’s Sydney autumn carnival runners performed admirably there were several near misses – Dreamforce was runner-up in the Doncaster Mile, Into The Abyss finished narrow and luckless seconds in two stakes races while Purple Sector was placed in the Eskimo Prince Stakes and Frank Packer Plate.
Thompson hopes Purple Sector can round out his campaign with a win in Saturday’s Rough Habit Plate (2000m) at Doomben while Into The Abyss will chase an overdue stakes win in the Group Three Dark Jewel Classic (1400m) at Scone.
Into The Abyss has been placed four times in black-type company, most recently in the James H B Carr Stakes at Randwick where she was held up for a run at a crucial stage before bursting through the pack and just failing to grab leader Laburnum.
“She’s been unlucky in a few runs but she’s going well and she’s as honest as they come,” Thompson said.
“She’s been stakes placed a few times so she deserves to win one.”
Glyn Schofield will ride Into The Abyss who has drawn the inside gate in a field reduced to 14 on the back of three early scratchings.
The Randwick horseman will also take Camdus to Scone for the Listed Luskin Star Stakes (1300m) and expects the former Darren Weir-trained gelding to strip much fitter after two runs back from a spell.
The seven-year-old is proven at stakes level having won a Listed sprint race at Flemington last winter but has been a work in progress since joining Thompson.
“He’d had a long spell and he came back big, fat and gross,” Thompson said.
“He’s trimmed down with every run and he’s at a level now where he should start to do something.”
Both Into The Abyss and Camdus will be on trial for a trip to Brisbane for the winter carnival, although they are unlikely to cross paths with stablemate Purple Sector.
“He’s arrived in Queensland in good order. He’s got a good draw and a good jockey so he should be in it for a long way,” he said.
“His run the other day was really good back on a firmer surface and he looks to get a dry track again on Saturday.”