When it comes to proving a horse worthy of a berth in the $1.3m The Kosciuszko, Dubbo trainer Kody Nestor says there’s nothing better than winning form.
That is, of course, unless you’re lucky enough to have an owner or someone connected to your stable with one of the 14 slots.
So, failing that, he’s planning to have his two major hopefuls – Cardiff and Jailbreak – near the top of their game when they return in Sydney around the time of the $5 ticket draw that will decide the slot winners for 2021.
“The best exposure you can get is winning races,’’ Nestor said.
“A little bit of luck would help but we’re going into it not thinking (drawing a ticket ourselves) will happen and making sure we have the right horse at the right time and we’re right there in front of the people who do get a ticket.”
Both Cardiff and Jailbreak are city winners already, both posting Canterbury wins in the summer earlier this year.
Nestor said Cardiff, a last start Doomben winner over 1110m, is set to trial in the first half of August and will be given two chances to impress while Jailbreak will only have one shot.
“Cardiff will be up and running towards the end of August and early September,’’ he said.
“He’ll go to Sydney for a Benchmark 78 first-up then three weeks later there’s an 88 over 1200m. We’ll use both of those starts to showcase him.
“The biggest question mark with a horse like him is whether he gets 1200m. Ability wise he has plenty of it.
“I think he surprised plenty of people when he won in Brisbane, he took a sit that day and Michael Cahill said he’d get 1200m if he can relax.”
The rising five-year-old is a $15 chance in TAB’s All-in Kosciuszko market, Jailbreak is on the $26 line.
The latter has a compelling Kosciuszko formline among his recent starts having finished third behind exciting sprinter Marway and 2019 Kosciuszko winner Handle The Truth in the Wagga Town Plate (1200m) in May.
Nestor is prepared to forgive the gelding’s subsequent failure at Rosehill in June.
“Apart from his last start, where he bungled the start, his form was really good,’’ he said.
“The Town Plate winner goes well, Marway, but Southern Lad finished behind him and came out and won the Ramornie.
“He’s a city winner and probably races best fresh. If he happens to be picked he’ll have one start and then, bang, straight into it.”
Given that at this point last year the reigning Kosciuszko winner, It’s Me, hadn’t even made her debut any trainer with a promising horse can think it’s not an impossible mountain to climb.
Nestor has two Kosciuszko ‘longshots’ in last start Hawkesbury Highway winner Golden Gorge and a rising four-year-old called Artie’s Aura who has only raced twice to date.
“It all depends on how they shape up but a horse like Golden Gorge is handy and has won a Highway and I have a mare called Artie’s Aura, she’s only won one race and would have to step up and perform,’’ Nestor said.
“I’ve been wanting to get her going but didn’t want to start off on a heavy track.”
The $5 Kosciuszko tickets are on sale via TAB, for full details visit www.thekosciuszko.com.au. The $1.3m feature is run at Royal Randwick on Saturday 16 October with the 14 slot winners drawn on September 9.
– Racing NSW