It’s been six years since her last Sydney runner was swamped by the competition but Victorian trainer Wendy Kelly says she’s ready for round two.
And she’s hoping her second trip north will prove just as educational for Late Charge as the first did for her.
The colt will run in the Rosehill Guineas on Saturday, competing against high-quality opponents such as the Peter Moody-trained Dissident, Shamus Award and New Zealand Derby winner Puccini.
It’s the Cranbourne-based trainer’s first Sydney runner since Bon Hoffa finished down the track at the same venue in the 2008 Ajax Stakes.
Despite his second-last placing, Kelly says she was struck by the more aggressive atmosphere of the interstate competition.
“Sydney is a little more intense,” Kelly said.
“The last time I was up there, I was probably a little bit nervous.”
That said, some lessons were a little more practical in nature.
“Just be more organised,” she said of what she learned.
For Kelly, the horse that has inspired her second Sydney venture is well worth the effort.
Transferred from Patrick Payne’s stables during the spring last year, Kelly only had 10 days to acquaint herself with Late Charge before saddling him up in the Caulfield Guineas.
She said the 17-week spell that followed gave her some time to get to know the colt, and ever since she has been convinced of his potential.
“He’s a stunning looking animal, and he deserves a chance,” she said.
And while a podium finish would be nice, Kelly says the journey will do wonders for Late Charge’s long-term development.
“He’s about eight months off maturing,” she explains.
“Life experience goes a long way.”
The soggy Sydney weather isn’t too far removed from Late Charge’s hometown climate and the wet Rosehill track should not offer too many problems.
“He has won on a wet track at Flemington,” Kelly said.
“But that’s about the only guide we’ve got to go on.”