Widely-travelled galloper Cheryl’s Horse looks set to add to his impressive Tasmanian record when he tackles the $25,000 Autumn Open Handicap at Elwick on Sunday.
The Scott Brunton-trained gelding will be chasing his second successive win in the 1600-metre race, having beaten Player One and Hyperbole 12 months ago.
He has two kilograms more this year but looks well placed given his good recent form.
A winner three starts ago carrying 60.5kg, he was then a shade unlucky when second to Beaufort Lad carrying 59kg at his next run.
He made amends in emphatic fashion a fortnight later when he beat Beaufort Lad by 4-½ lengths.
Although the track conditions on that occasion were suiting his front-running style, there was a lot of merit in his performance as he ran the fastest last 400m of the night.
It was his seventh win since joining Seven Mile Beach trainer Scott Brunton.
Cheryl’s Horse began his racing career in Hong Kong where he had just four starts for a minor placing at Sha Tin.
He was then sent back to his state of origin, Victoria, where he won a maiden at Benalla before eventually coming to Tasmania in August 2015.
His main opposition on Sunday is likely to come from class mare and topweight Geegees Goldengirl, his stablemate Gladstone and Beaufort Lad.
Sunday’s meeting features four $25,000 races and Scott Brunton has a strong hand in three of them.
He will saddle up three of the six runners, including last-start winner Step The Pedal, in the Fillies & Mares Quality while his partner Tegan Keys will also be represented by topweight My Paige Three.
His father David will have the only family runner, Miss Smith, in the Autumn 2YO but there are four Brunton-Keys horses in the Autumn 3YO and five in the Open Handicap.
BARRY CAMPBELL’S smart three-year-old Chillout will be another horse trying to replicate his success of 12 months ago.
Chillout won the Autumn 2YO at the same meeting last year and is the likely favourite for the Autumn 3YO.
Campbell tossed up whether to take the gelding back to Hobart or give him a break and wait for an open-age sprint series on his home track at Spreyton where he would be handicapped on the minimum.
“He’s been doing a good job carrying big weights against his own age,” Campbell said.
“He hit a bit of a flat spot on the home turn before winning his last start in Hobart but that’s to be expected – it’s hard to quicken when you’re carrying 59kg.”
Chillout drops to 57kg under Sunday’s set-weight conditions.