Trainer James Ponsonby is happy to allow consistent galloper Philipsburg to live his “charmed life” for at least another week and chase a third city win for his preparation at Rosehill on Saturday.
Although wary the gelding will be lining up for his 12th start of the campaign in the TAB Handicap (1800m), Ponsonby said with the rain sticking around he was happy to delay a break for another shot at a $150,000 race.
After finishing third behind La Chevalee at Randwick last weekend, Philipsburg was booked to travel to the spelling paddock but when his transport was put back a day the trainer had a rethink.
“If you stop thinking about it in human terms and treat the horse the way he is you wouldn’t know that he’s coming up to his 12th race start for a preparation,’’ he said.
“He’s a very economical horse to work with.
“He’s not giving the riders the feel of a tired or flat horse. You’ve got to use the situation when it becomes available.
“He’s a simple horse to get along with. He never sees a white rail any other time, he’s in the paddock in the afternoon after he’s done his work. He’s got a pretty charmed life and obviously it suits him.”
Philipsburg’s preparation started in the South East Country Championships at Nowra in February, he had another dip at the series in the Wild Card but it’s been on wet tracks where he’s come into his own.
The four-year-old’s two wins have come on heavy ground at Canterbury in March and at Rosehill in May and Ponsonby said the restricted nature of Saturday’s race is attractive.
“It looks a very genuinely fair race especially coming back to a three and four-year-old division not more of an open race,’’ he said.
“He’s already backed up once this preparation. He doesn’t do a lot. Winona (Costin) jumped off the other day and had nothing but praise for the horse and how he performed.
“He’s very fit, he cleans up his feed every morning and afternoon and it’s just a matter of having a bit of luck in the race and hoping by that stage of the day he’s able to run on.”
Koby Jennings rides Philipsburg, who was $8 with TAB on Thursday, at Rosehill.
As a backmarker, Ponsonby concedes pattern will be crucial to his horse’s chances but just hopes there’s enough tempo to allow his turn of foot and wet track ability to come into play.
He clocked easily the fastest last 600m of his race last weekend, running 37.83 (Punter’s Intelligence) or three lengths faster than the winner, and a race best 12.28 from the 400m-200m.
“All this preparation he has lacked that natural toe out of the gates,’’ Ponsonby said.
“A couple of times it probably hasn’t been his fault but he left the gates well last week but from a wide barrier on the point of the turn it was always going to be hard for him to find a position up close.
“The real positive is he made up good ground at a stage of the day where they hadn’t been making up ground out wide.
“I was very encouraged by the speed he showed between the 400m and 200m and I thought he was still going to win. The extra distance he had to travel made the difference late but La Chevalee is not a bad horse to get beaten by.”
– Racing NSW