Canberra-based trainer Todd Smart and his large cohort of local owners remain hopeful he can claim a slot in the $1.3m Kosciuszko at Royal Randwick on Everest Day, Saturday, October 16.
Canberra-trained horses are afforded a maximum of two slots in the Kosciuszko and Keith Dryden’s 2019 champ Handle the Truth has already snapped up one of those.
Handle the Truth was snared by a Jerrabomberra syndicate late on Thursday afternoon.
Washington Towers’ late bid for a slot came at Moruya yesterday in a Benchmark 66 over 1010m, finishing third behind Crucial Witness.
Washington Towers pinged out of the gates but settled third after being taken on by the speedy Designer Maid.
Washington Towers’ jockey Damon Budler struggled to get past Designer Maid in the straight, first trying to go to the outside, then trying to chart a different course on the inside. Meanwhile, Crucial Witness steamed over the top of both.
Washington Towers kicked off his preparation with a smart jump-out on August 25 at Thoroughbred Park, winning by over 5L with plenty in the tank. The Todd Smart-trained gelding is a winner of four of his 11 starts including a strong Benchmark 65 on TAB Canberra Cup Day back in March.
Smart has also been talking up Tobermory’s chances, which is listed at $26 with the TAB Kosciuszko market.
Tobermory returned from a 19 month lay-off in brilliant fashion when scoring in a strong Benchmark 66 (1000m) at Albury on August 17. Carrying 62kgs and near last on the turn, the galloper produced a fantastic last 200m to spear through the middle of them for a 0.44L win. The win saw Tobermory shorten significantly in the Kosciuszko market and has convinced Smart that he is worthy of being in the conversation for a slot.
“He’s absolutely flying. I wasn’t surprised by his first-up win because I knew how good he is going,” Smart said.
“He’s a lightly-raced horse on the up.”
Tobermory is owned by a large contingent of locals including Abb and Ben McAlister, Mark Moses, Sean Turner, Wayne Pollack, Ian and Adam McLaurie, Bob Smart and the Jack Addie Syndicate, which includes Bob, Bernie and Doug Clarke, Tim and Bianca Clarke, Marg Smith, Carmel Matchett and Mike and Cathy Kirkman.
Meanwhile, also chasing a spot is Another One, which has owners from across the Riverina, including Tumut’s John McRedmond and James Roddy. Another One finished third in his most recent start over 1200m at Wagga in a Benchmark 85.
Regardless of whether or not he gets a start in the Kosciuszko, trainer Gary Colvin is expecting the gelding to come into his own this season at four years of age.
“I think he’s matured a lot now he’s a four-year-old, you can see he’s stronger and seems to have a bit more brains,’’ he told Racing NSW.
“He just did things wrong, he went to Sydney one time and we expected him to win. He was on the inside and didn’t know what to do, he seemed to want a bit of room. And he nearly got beaten at Wagga on Championship Day.”
In TAB’s all-in Kosciuszko market, Another One is a $15 chance.
The Kosciuszko is the world’s richest race for country-trained horses, carrying $1.3 million in prizemoney. Every horse in the race is nominated by a winner of the Kosciuszko sweepstakes who share in the prizemoney of their nominated horse. $5 tickets in the Kosciuszko sweepstakes are available for sale through the TAB App and your local TAB venue.
The Kosciuszko race is a 1200 metre sprint contest run under set weights and penalties conditions on the same day as The TAB Everest at Royal Randwick on Saturday October 16. The race is restricted to NSW country and ACT trained horses only.
Confirmed runners to date are this year’s Country Championships winner Art Cadeau ($7), last year’s winner Handle The Truth ($7), Victorem ($7), Edit ($10), Ice In Vancouver ($21), Island Bay Boy ($21), Plonka ($26) and Ahead Of His Time ($34).