Nigel Blackiston has made a habit winning the David Bourke Provincial Plate and the trainer is eyeing another success in the $100,000 race at Flemington.
Blackiston will be chasing his fourth win in the Provincial Plate since 2002 when he saddles up Heez Notorious on Saturday.
But Blackiston admits a wide barrier draw has harmed Heez Notorious’ chances.
“This is the race we targeted many, many months ago. I thought he would be an ideal candidate for it,” Blackiston said.
Heez Notorious is a half-brother to stakes-winning stablemate Let’s Make Adeal and a grandson of Let’s Elope.
A winner of a midweek city race at Sandown in January, the six-year-old has not started since being unplaced at Geelong in March.
The Provincial Plate is restricted to horses which have competed at least three times in non-metropolitan races in the past year.
The Peter Moody-trained Kenjorwood has topweight with 60kg and is an early $4 favourite ahead of Baron Archer ($6) with Heez Notorious at $21.
Blackiston’s five runners at the meeting include Desert Jeuney who was declared a non-runner at Moonee Valley last Saturday when he was denied a fair start.
He reared in the gates, causing the barrier attendant to lose footing and still have hold of the horse when the barriers opened.
Blackiston said Desert Jeuney came through last Saturday “as good as gold” and the plan remains to head to the Listed All Victorian Sprint Series Final after Saturday’s Takeover Target Tribute Handicap (1100m).
A Toorak Handicap placegetter, Desert Jeuney had a bone chip removed from a fetlock after last year’s spring carnival and he missed the autumn.
“He’s in great order. It’s possibly too short for him (on Saturday) but it will be nice to get him started,” Blackiston said.