Every hoop Joe Pride has asked promising galloper Think About It to jump through so far he’s done with ease so that gives the trainer heart he can overcome a tricky scenario at Gosford on Saturday.
A winner of six of his seven starts, Think About It returns from a short break and begins a path toward a Group 1 shot when he contests the Listed $200,000 De Bortoli Wines Takeover Target Stakes (1200m).
It’s a race Pride has pinpointed a number of times having won four of the last 12 editions with Title (2011), See The World (2012), Ball Of Muscle (2015) and Kuro (2017).
Think About It hasn’t raced since he led all the way to claim the Group 3 Liverpool City Cup in late February and Pride sees no reason why Gosford will cause him any issues.
“It’s a bit of a pathway race for him,’’ Pride said.
“If I could have him at 1200m at Randwick I’d prefer it but he’s a very good horse and will offset that barrier and be hard to beat.
“He’s already won at Wyong, Kembla, Rosehill, Warwick Farm, wherever I’ve taken him so far it hasn’t been a problem for him.”
As he alluded, Pride doesn’t regard the four-year-old’s near outside barrier as something to be concerned about given what he’s shown from a racing pattern perspective in his past four wins on end.
In his recent trial win he was happy to sit three wide near the pace and, in the Takeover Target, Pride said Sam Clipperton will be able to make use of the expected speed drawn just inside him.
“It looks an awkward draw on face value but in saying that the speed is out there with him,’’ he said.
“With every start he gets a bit faster, at his last start he led. I wouldn’t be planning on leading here but he can come across with the speed and get up there in the first five.
“He’ll take some beating, he’s a very good horse on the way up.
“I liked his trial, he showed good speed and wanted to be part of it. That’s him. You watch his replays, he can basically be wherever you want him to be.
“He’s adaptable, versatile in terms of track conditions. I’m not going to say he’s the complete package just yet but he’s looked pretty bombproof so far.”
Pride has one eye on the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) in Brisbane next month for Think About It, who was $3.10 on Wednesday to continue his winning run at Gosford.
He said he’s in no hurry to try and pigeonhole the gelding distance wise given how effective he’s been over the short courses to date and until he shows he wants more ground he won’t be asked to test his distance limits.
“I’m happy to let him tell me,’’ he said.
“With some of my good horses in the past I’ve tried to predict it and sometimes you get it right and sometimes you get it wrong.
“You’re going to make mistakes with horses because you’ve got to put them over ground to find out if they can run it. Every mistake you make can cost you and we’re mindful of that.
“I’ve kept him to sprints so far and he’s been doing that well.
“There’s an opportunity for him there in a Stradbroke. It’s a lofty ambition for a horse that’s only had a handful of starts but at the same time I haven’t hit the ceiling with him yet.”
Meanwhile, Private Eye has gone to the paddock after his fifth placing in the Victory Stakes last weekend with Pride keen to prepare him for another shot at the TAB Everest.
– Racing NSW