By Ray Hickson
Jockey Tye Angland is happy enough to put Chetwood’s first-up flop out of his mind and hope Godolphin have the talented sprinter at his best at Gosford on Thursday.
The Listed $150,000 De Bortoli Wines Takeover Target Stakes (1200m) is shaping as a crossroad for Chetwood after he failed to beat a horse home in his first run since a tie-back operation.
Angland, who also rode the gelding in trials either side of the Razor Sharp, said everything pointed to him running well first-up and his nine length defeat puzzled him.
“It’s hard to line him up now really,’’ he said.
“His trials leading into his first-up run were good. His first trial was pretty eye catching and in the next one I was happy with the way he relaxed for me.
“I thought I was in the right spot to be right in the finish late but he dropped out pretty quickly.
“I was disappointed, I’m not sure what happened but he’s had a trial since and he trialled well.’’
Chetwood is rated a $7.50 chance by TAB for the Takeover Target Stakes.
Chetwood running second in a trial at Rosehill - December 22
He’s only been to Gosford once for a third in the 2016 Gosford Guineas but won four straight in the following preparation including the Group 3 Cameron Handicap at Newcastle.
He failed badly in three runs in the late summer last year and underwent the tie back which appeared to have worked when he won his two trials leading into this preparation.
But that failure at Randwick, where the stewards reported he had a poor post-race recovery, has Angland erring on the side of caution rather than confidence but hinted at how he’ll be approaching the race.
“We’ve got to go into the race open minded, he drew a soft gate and he is going to be on speed,’’ he said.
“Under race conditions, with that little more pressure, is he still wanting to do it? I don’t know.
"We’ve got to wait and see. I think the Gosford track will help him, hopefully we can break their hearts around the bend.
“You’re only 250m from home so it’s not very long for him to think about it too much.’’
If his job on Chetwood isn’t a big enough ask, Angland will be out to maintain an unbeaten record on Star Of Monsoon in the Bill Rutledge Cusick Prelude (1100m).
The four-year-old, a $6.50 chance with TAB, finally broke through for a maiden win at his 17th attempt when he scored over the same course on December 28.
“I was pretty lucky, I got him in his first run back after being gelded,’’ Angland said.
“Hopefully he takes a bit of confidence out of the win, I think he has the ability to take on a Class 3 race but they are going to be a bit tougher.’’
It appeared in the last 200m that Star Of Monsoon would streak away but in the end had just under a length to spare and the jockey said that’s likely symptomatic of his long time maiden status.
“He’s been around long enough to know what it’s all about but putting them away and winning he doesn’t know how to do it properly yet,’’ he said.
“He beat a nice field but I felt I had a lot more horse underneath me and he didn’t know how to let go yet.’’