Goulburn trainer Danielle Seib will make her first trip to Narrandera this Sunday and if everything goes to plan, will be leaving with the town Cup as well as a good impression.
Assault’N’Bathory will carry the topweight of 59.5kg in the Leeton Toyota Narrandera Cup (1600m) and the stable is confident the two-time Highway Handicap winner (in mid-2019 and January 2020) can recapture his best form four runs back from a long spell.
“Certainly his work at home has shown he’s come back as good if not a little better. I think he’s in better order than we’ve had him before,” Seib said.
“He’s physically a lot stronger and as a young horse he had a tendency to be temperamental in the barriers and things like that, but he’s returned quite relaxed and a bit more sensible.”
The seven-year-old has had five wins, five seconds and five thirds in his 29 starts and is coming off a seventh over 1300m at Wagga fortnight ago.
“He’s won on a heavy before but just didn’t handle the specific conditions at Wagga last start. But certainly stepping up to the mile should suit him,” Seib said.
The stable thought he was unlucky to be just outside the placings in two benchmark 72 events at Canterbury, prior, and hope Winona Costin can cross from barrier 11 and set the pace in the $34,000 feature.
“He’s not the easiest horse to ride but it’s a big positive having Winona back on him at Narrandera,” Seib said. “He likes to dictate and just roll along at a good tempo. That’s his pattern.”
Seib is also bringing Hartzer Park in the Elders Coleambally and Narrandera Maiden Handicap (1400m) who’s had a freshen up between runs and the stable expects he’ll improve up in distance.
Assault’N’Bathory has earned more than $190,000 in prizemoney but Seib thinks there are plenty of chances and has great respect for Keith Dryden’s Gunga Din (six wins in 26 starts). But after minor placings in the Parkes Cup and the Jazz Cup (Sapphire Coast) last year, the stable would love to add a country cup victory to the gelding’s resume.
The Joseph-Jones stable is excited about the prospect of back-to-back country features with Roman, who won the $22,000 Tuross Cup (1650m) on a heavy track at Moruya last month.
“I’m very happy with the horse. He’s jumping out of his skin actually,” trainer Paul Jones said, on his way to the Sapphire Coast stable.
He’ll bring Roman back to Canberra on Saturday and then on to Narrandera on Sunday. The six-year-old has won four of 13 starts, three of them on a heavy track.
Jones said there were plenty of reasons to forgive a disappointing 15th in a Highway Handicap at Randwick in early June two starts back.
“We just let him get over that run and targetted the next run which I was very pleased to see him come back and perform so well at his first go at open company,” Jones said.
Jordan Mallyon has the ride and will aim for a spot just off the speed. Roman (by Roman Emperor) is one of three half-brothers in the stable out of Mercury Lady, along with Merc and Mercurial Lad.
Jones said they also bought a full brother to Mercurial Lad (by Pendragon) this year.
“It’s a family that we’ve had a lot of success with. Only one horse that probably hasn’t done well, Exemplary Lad, but he’s had injury issues so we’re going to have to retire him now as he’s struggling with arthritis in his knees,” Jones said.
“But we’re very happy with the family and very happy with our purchase at the Inglis Sale.”
It’s an eight-race program at Narrandera on Sunday with the first at 12.10pm.
– Racing NSW