Four-year-old Sckam has got his act together in recent times and the gelding has the opportunity to add another win to his record at Grafton on Thursday.
Sckam ($2.60 into $2.30 on TAB fixed odds), whose names conjures all types of possibilities, has reeled off his best performances since the end of last year with a win, two seconds and a fourth from his past four starts.
Unplaced in eight starts prior to this time, Sckam’s improvement has been welcomed by his owners and trainer Alan Ryan.
“It was good to get that win out of the way at Kempsey and he has been racing consistently for a bit now,” Ryan said. “It was frustrating when you knew he had the ability, but little things weren’t going right for him.”
Call it bad luck or just running into form, whatever the case may be, Sckam has never raced better for owner Terry Kelly whose association with Ryan goes back many years. They have fond memories of winning the first Northern Rivers Country Championship qualifier with Redwolf in 2015 who went on to finish twelfth in the final behind Artlee.
Sckam doesn’t fall in the same category and prefers a longer distance so he won’t be running at The Championships, but suitable races in the country make the challenge just as enticing.
“He is one of six horses I have and I expect him to be hard to beat again,” Ryan said. “Leah Kilner rode the horse when he won at Kempsey and she will ride him again at Grafton.
“The distance (2220m) won’t be a worry plus Leah takes a bit of weight off with her claim.”
Sckam will carry 54.5 kilograms after the claim and is rated as the favorite ahead of the topweight, Silent Jack ($2.80). With a little rain heading into Thursday, the track condition is expected to suit most horses with a rating of a Soft 5.
One horse Ryan hopes can make it to The Championships is Camillo who is close to resuming from a spell, while he will have debutante Nanny’s Primed ($41) starting on Thursday.
Ryan said it was a learning process for the first starter: “He has ability, but also a few quirks so we will see how he goes,” he said.