Walcha trainer George Woodward rates the prospect of another summer scorcher as his main concern as Loud Enough strives for a winning hat-trick at Kempsey on Tuesday.
Loud Enough is racing in great form this preparation after only joining Woodward's stable a couple of months ago. He did his earlier racing under the care of Warwick Farm trainer Paul Cave, winning two of his first 22 starts.
A five-year-old by Benicio, Loud Enough has won two of his three starts for Woodward - including the $35,000 Inverell Cup (1400m) on New Year's Day - and is chasing three straight wins in Tuesday's West Kempsey Hotel Summer Stayers Hcp (1900m).
"He's been going really well for me and I think the step up to the 1900m on Tuesday will be ideal for him,” Woodward said.
“He goes up in weight but I expect him to be very hard to beat again.
"I guess my main concern could be the heat. He's got a three-hour float trip to Kempsey and, knowing Kempsey, it'll probably be a pretty warm day there. Hopefully, it won't be too bad though."
Woodward bought Loud Enough from his good mate Paul Cave earlier this season and saddled him up for the first time in a race when he resumed for third in a Benchmark 65 over 1300m at Gunnedah on December 9.
Loud Enough then won a Benchmark 60 over 1400m at Armidale on December 19 before stepping out at the juicy odds of $26 in the $35,000 Inverell Cup (1400m) on New Year's Day, finishing strongly to just edge out Carry On Jake with Mishani Honcho in third.
"Paul and I are very good mates and I've got a number of nice horses from him over the years," said Woodward.
"This horse was a bit of rogue when I got him - he had a habit of 'flipping around' on the track - but I've stripped all the gear off him and let him just be a horse again."
Apprentice Miki Nakao, who claims 2kg, had her first ride on Loud Enough in the Inverell Cup on January 1 and Woodward is happy to keep the association going at Kempsey.
"We had something on him at those nice odds at Inverell and I was very happy with her ride," he said. "She did exactly what I asked her to do and you can't ask more than that."
Woodward is looking ahead to next month's Walcha Cup (1440m) as Loud Enough's next assignment after Tuesday's race.
"I'll freshen him up after he runs on Tuesday and head next to the Walcha Cup," he said. "I've never won that race, I just haven't had the right horse in previous years. That should be a great meeting, the Walcha club does a great job and the track is in superb order."
Grafton mare Push The Sky Away looks the toughest rival for Loud Enough to beat at Kempsey on Tuesday.
The Nev Stewart-trained mare will relish the step up to 1900m at her fifth run this campaign. During her previous preparation last winter, the five-year-old raced very well over middle distances. She won a Class 4 at the Gold Coast over 1800m in June then was placed over 2215m and 2200m in two runs during the Grafton carnival.
Gold Coast jockey Luke Rolls takes the ride on Push The Sky Away on Tuesday and also partners stablemate Falsified if she gains a start in the Class 1 Hcp (1000m).
Rolls has also picked up the rides on leading Newcastle trainer Kris Lees' two runners at Kempsey - Notting Hill in the Maiden Hcp (1250m) and Jayzou in the Class 2 Hcp (1450m).
Notting Hill, a filly by Pierro, lines up for his second start on Tuesday after making her debut as a $2.50 favourite when third at Taree on December 24.
Jayzou could certainly do with another win. He has the frustrating record of finishing second 12 times since his only win back in October, 2015. He finished runner-up again when he resumed at Taree on December 18.