It’s often at the start where a race can be won or lost and that is where the initial focus will be for the connections of Man of Peace when he resumes racing at Wagga on Thursday.
Man Of Peace, who finished fourth in last year’s Wagga Town Plate, is trainer David Heywood’s first starter for 2018 and he is hoping to make it a winning one.
Heywood’s major area of concern with Man of Peace is the start after he missed jumping on level terms with his rivals at his last two runs prior to a spell.
The experience of Heywood has taught him not to alter too much with Man of Peace who makes his way back in the Wagga Windstorm (1000m) heading towards another tilt at the Wagga Town Plate in May.
“I haven’t given him barrier practice this time in and I’m just hoping he begins well because if he does he will always be competitive,” he said.
“He played up in the barriers last time in and I’m just hoping the break and some others things I have done can help him at the start.”
Man Of Peace is a track specialist winning five times from 11 starts at his home circuit. The five-year-old is yet to win in five first-up attempts, but has been placed three times leaving little doubt he can produce first-up.
Heywood, who will also have Dyrham Park resuming at Canberra on Friday, will leave the job to jockey Nick Heywood to get Man of Peace away to a better start.
“I don’t think the horse’s weight (61 kilograms) is an issue over 1000 metres. He is back to his best and I can’t fault the horse this time in,” he said. “He ran a ripper of a race in the Town Plate last year and won the prelude and if he produces that type of form then he is going to be hard to beat.”
Man of Peace didn’t have the winter preparation Heywood was planning finishing unplaced in three starts at Wagga when he wasn’t right, according to his trainer. That makes his Wagga record even more impressive considering he was well down on his best form and Heywood feels he is back to his best.
“Everything went pear shape last time in so he had a good spell and has come back well,” he suggested.
Race fitness favours many of his rivals with Vinnie Vega brilliantly winning at Albury two starts back and Wonderbolt close to breaking through for his first win this campaign.