APPRENTICE Ismail Toker will be in illustrious company when he renews his association with smart sprinter Innocent Gamble at Spreyton on Sunday.
Innocent Gamble is topweight for the inaugural running of the $20,000 Tapeta Sprint Prelude which leads into a $25,000 final a fortnight later.
Toker has won five races on the Barry Campbell-trained seven-year-old who has been rejuvenated since coming to Tasmania.
As a two-year-old, in the summer of 2010, Innocent Gamble won a Blue Diamond prelude at Caulfield at his first start.
He was hailed a potential star but never won another race for the next 2- years.
Connections tried a succession of big-name jockeys on the horse but they couldn’t get him to reproduce his debut effort.
They included Damien Oliver, Nash Rawiller, Glen Boss, Chris Symons, Brad Rawiller, Michael Walker, Lisa Cropp, Nick Hall and Jake Noonan.
In mid-2012, trainer and part-owner Mark Riley decided on a new approach – a complete change of environment.
He sent Innocent Gamble to Tasmania and, at his fourth start for Campbell, he broke through for his second career win at Elwick.
The gelding has won another five races since – each time with Toker in the saddle – including four in a row on the Spreyton synthetic track this time last year.
Innocent Gamble finished midfield in the state’s premier sprint, the Newmarket Handicap, at Mowbray in November and, after one more run, went for a spell.
He resumed with a close fifth in Hobart in late May before failing on an unsuitable heavy track in early June.
The gelding has never won on a wet track so Campbell decided to bide his time and wait for racing to return to the horse’s favourite venue.
Toker is confident Innocent Gamble will run well.
‘‘He has trialled impressively, he’s fresh and he loves the track,’’ the apprentice said.
‘‘He’s my favourite horse so hopefully we can win again.’’
Sunday’s race has attracted a good field, justifying the decision to add some feature events to the winter calendar.
As well as the sprint series, there is a series for middle distance horses later in the month, carrying the same prizemoney.