Cleave Fears Nothing As Incendio Eyes Taree Repeat (Sunday, 28th Apr)

Incendio bolted in to win at his only previous attempt over the course and distance and Newcastle trainer Patrick Cleave is confident the four-year-old will perform strongly again at the Taree race meeting on Sunday.

“He’s got as good a chance as any in the race on paper,” Cleave said.

“I don’t think there’s anything we should be running away from. The Kris Lees horse (Bestower) looks hard to beat.

“It and mine both look pretty progressive. But Incendio is going very well.

“He needed that run at Wellington last-start. He didn’t jump straight into stride and had to do a fair bit of work early to hold a position and ended up having to burn the candle at both ends, but he still finished off well.

Incendio wins at Taree (Pic: Trackside)

“The distance will suit him and I won’t be concerned if the ground is genuinely heavy. If it’s nice and deep and he can get right into it he’ll be fine. He’s worked very well on deep ground at home.”

The Taree track was rated a Heavy 10 midweek, with a mixed weather forecast predicting some sun and some rain in the days leading up to the meeting.

Incendio will run in the Stacks Law Firm Class 3 Handicap over 1614 metres. He has drawn barrier eight in the nine-horse field and apprentice Ben Osmond’s claim will bring his weight down from the allotted 58kg to 56.5.

The gelding has only had the four career starts, for one win – on a track rated a Soft 5 – and two placings.

That win came over the 1614 metres in a Maiden event at Taree last October and after holding the lead despite the presence of a keen early challenger Incendio then began pulling away from the field mid-race. He just kept going to win by 3.7 lengths.

Leading country jockey Ben Looker rode Incendio that day, but Osmond got his first ride on him at Wellington when he was third in a Benchmark 58 race at what was his first start of this campaign.

“Benny did everything he was asked to do on the day and he’ll know the horse that little bit better going into Sunday,” Cleave said.

“Ben rides a little bit of work for me here at home and he went all the way up to Wellington for the ride last time. He’s a good, hard-working kid, so there’s no reason to take him off.

“And the way the race comes up, Incendio gets into it very well at the weights with the claim.”

Cleave said Incendio would be available to lead, but didn’t have to if another jockey was determined to get to the front.

“He’s a really big, strong-galloping sort of horse that can run along at a good tempo and quicken off that,” he said.

“He’s probably not best suited as a sit-and-sprint horse. If the lead’s there we’ll take it, but it’s not something he absolutely has to do.

“He covers a lot of ground with his stride, so we just let him roll along wherever he’s comfortable and he just keeps running.

“We’ll roll forward with him from the start and see how it works out, let everyone else decide what they want to do and you’ve got a lot of time down the back straight at Taree to do what you want to do, so if he’s a little bit wide early it won’t matter.

“Ben can weigh things up from there.”

*Gates open at 11.30am. First race 12.35pm. Admission $10 and $5 concession. Full bar, bistro, TAB and bookmaker facilities. Visit facebook page for more information.

– Racing NSW

Share this article