By Tony Megahey
Form trainer Rodney Northam will tune in from afar with the expensive Red Knot primed and the added advantage of the Hugh Bowman influence, as the stable strives for successive stable TAB $60,000 Highway Handicap wins at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Racing partner Rachel Northam is confident Red Knot, whose best form is over 1600m, is forward enough from a spell and a Scone barrier trial to take beating in an 1100m flier. Red Knot, a five-year-old gelding, was originally a million-dollar Redoubt’s Choice-Hades yearling purchase for a Gai Waterhouse syndicate.
Meanwhile, Rod embarked on an overseas holiday after celebrating a Highway breakthrough with My Tagosan, typically ridden to perfection by the champion jockey Bowman, on Winx comeback day at Royal Randwick last Saturday.
“It was like the waves parted for Hugh on My Tagosan, he’s riding perfection; Red Knot has trialled nicely and he’s fresh enough to be effective at 1100m,” offered Rachel with her charming Irish brogue. “Hugh quickly figures out how races develop so, we’ve good reason to be confident even though this gelding’s best form is at 1600m.
“On his form last time and against city opposition, he’s well placed. His early wins were on-pace at 1600m, and last prep he led and was beaten in a photo in a 1500m Highway. So he does have the natural speed fresh to stay in touch at 1100m. And we’re really happy with him, he’s done all we could expect coming into the race.”
Red Knot hasn’t raced since May 20 after leading till the last strides when a neck second to Matthew Dale’s talented Hay Now in a strong Rosehill 1500m episode. In previous preps, Red Knot won successive 1600m races at Scone and Newcastle and his Rosehill effort indicated he could still measure up to city company.
“Rod is holidaying overseas, lucky him; hopefully he’ll get good news on Saturday.” Red Knot carries 59.5kg for Bowman who has been riding with phenomenal consistency. And also taking the barrier dramas of Winx and that near disaster in his cool, calculating demeanour.
Meanwhile, Country trainers have intensified Highway campaigns striving to develop a contender for the massive $200,000 Highway Anniversary event early October at Royal Randwick over the Sydney Spring Carnival.
The Prolific Highway winning stables of Matthew Dunn, with unlucky last start Highway placegetter Lifesaver, and Matthew Dale’s impressive Kembla winner Mossman Gorge head the markets. But the Bowman factor, and his huge following, will see Red Knot with strong support.