Tumbarumba trainer George Dimitropoulos believes his in-form galloper, Blazing Zone, looks well placed to win the $32,000 Hair of the Dog Cup at Gundagai Adelong Race Club on Saturday.
“I think he will be right in it. This is the best I’ve had him for quite a while now,” Dimitropoulos said.
“If you look at his form and compare it to those horses that are (Benchmark 66), he has the better form.”
The five-year-old was a good winner at Leeton over the 1600m journey three starts back on September 27 before finishing third at Albury to Kermatin over the same distance on October 8.
Last start, the Eurozone gelding ran into up-and-comer, Sumdeel, that races with Wagga trainer Wayne Carroll, but he managed to run a good second to the smart galloper, beaten only 1.06 lengths.
The pair meet again in the Hair of the Dog Cup, but this time over the longer trip of 1800m, and Dimitropoulos is confident his galloper can turn the tables on their most recent result.
“Sumdeel got the better run, she went for home earlier and we were taking ground of her but the post beat us,” Dimitropoulos said.
“I think we can beat her this time. If anything, I think Milamoo is the big danger.”
There is a lot of rain predicted for the region in the coming days, and the Tumbarumba trainer said Blazing Zone will handle the wet, while he didn’t believe the barrier draw (gate 8) would impact his chances.
“I don’t think the wet track is as problem to him, and I was talking to his past trainer, Trevor Sutherland, and he seems to think the horse will handle it and he has won on a heavy track before,” Dimitropoulos said.
“He will fall back anyway, so the draw doesn’t matter and the only concern is if the races get called off, so I’m nominating him for Rosehill on Wednesday just in case Gundagai is called off.”
Although stable jockey Molly Bourke is back from injury, Richie Bensley will keep the ride on Blazing Zone after recently guiding the galloper to his Leeton victory.
“When you have a good thing going, you stick with it and I think the horse, Richard and I are working well at the moment,” Dimitropoulos said.
Today, Dimitropoulos also has The Tapster taking on the 1100m Class One Handicap which doubles as the Heat of the Rising Star series for apprentice jockeys.
Since returning from a spell, the five-year-old finished second and third at Albury over 900m and 1000m, before struggling last start, finishing 9th over the 1175m at Albury.
“I’ve got Molly Bourke riding The Tapster and she should go okay, but she is enigmatic,” Dimitropoulos laughed.
“Richie rode her a bit pretty last start and I think she needed to run along and she will do that on Friday.”
Dimitropoulos said Bourke would give The Tapster the best possible chance at Gundagai, and the heavy track shouldn’t be a concern to the five-year-old chances.
“When it comes to jumping one out and putting it up front, Molly is the best and she will give them a run for their money and she has placed on the heavy twice,” Dimitropoulos said.