By Ray Hickson
It wasn’t until Cassie Schmidt took the rug off his talented galloper Acoustix to reveal how well he’d done in his winter spell that trainer Tas Morton thought he might have a Kosciuszko contender.
The problem is that was only in mid-July and the Port Macquarie trainer won’t have enough time to showcase the five-year-old in a race before the 14 winning tickets are drawn on September 9.
But Morton is looking to give Acoustix a solid build up leading to a race day exhibition gallop in his area, prior to the ticket draw, and put him on the radar for October’s $1.3m country feature at Royal Randwick.
Acoustix, a winner of five of his 21 starts, wintered at Cassie Schmidt and her sister Priscilla Looker’s agistment and spelling property at nearby Wauchope and Morton said Cassie made a point of showing him off when he came to collect the horse.
“Cassie said “I want to take the rug off before he leaves because I want you to have a look at him”,’’ Morton said.
“He’s just matured that much and he still had a spring coat on him.
“It told me he’s very healthy and he spelled well and that’s what made me think about the Kosciuszko.
“I know how good the horse is and he’s improving all the time. In my opinion he should have gone close in the Country Championships at Taree and I thought he’s worth a shot at the Kosciuszko.”
Acoustix finished sixth, beaten just over two lengths, in that Qualifier in February and a couple of months later took out the Provincial Cup at Wyong over 1600m before finishing a close fourth in the Country Cup (1400m) at Scone on May 15.
Morton said the gelding has proven himself to be adaptable, he’s effective at 1200m with three of his five wins at the trip and he’s won from both on and off the speed.
“He’s got pace to lead and he sit off them and come from behind, he’s a versatile horse and I’ve given him plenty of time to mature,’’ he said.
“I think he would be competitive in that sort of race.”
It seems Acoustix being out of sight has put him out of mind with punters given he’s a $101 chance with TAB and Morton is wary of that.
His plan for the rest of the month is to step up his work to have him ready for that serious race day gallop in the week leading into the September 9 draw.
He’ll have one run in September and be kept on the fresh side to tackle The Kosciuszko if he’s fortunate enough to be selected.
Acoustix wins at Wyong on April 16
“I might have left my run a bit late but if he was nice and fresh, and we happened to get a wet track, over the 1200m it would suit him,’’ he said.
“I’d be looking for a good race in town with him (first-up), you need a horse to be able to win in town to be in line for the Kosciuszko but that run will be after the draw.”
The third running of the $1.3m The Kosciuszko (1200m) at Royal Randwick will be held on October 17 and the $5 tickets are on sale via TAB outlets and the TAB app until Wednesday 8 September with the 14 winners drawn a day later.
The 14 winners can then enter into a partnership with the owners of their preferred horse, effectively becoming a part-owner for the day, and agree to a split of the prizemoney.