By Ray Hickson
Queanbeyan trainer Joe Cleary has his eyes firmly fixed on October 19 to have consistent galloper Up Trumpz at his absolute best so isn’t placing a huge emphasis on Wednesday’s Kensington assignment.
It’d be an anomaly if the five-year-old didn’t feature somewhere in the finish of the Justify @ Coolmore Australia Handicap (1100m) and Cleary expects him to be there, but he warns there’s improvement to come with the $1.3m The Kosciuszko his next task.
Up Trumpz hasn’t raced since he won over 1100m at Warwick Farm at the end of August but he was due to race there two weeks ago until the meeting was called off.
“It didn’t throw a spanner in the works because it’s still 17 days until the Kosciuszko after this run,’’ Cleary said.
“If anything he had a bit of brain stimulation on that day because he came home and was completely buzzing.
“I think the competitive juices were flowing, he knew he’d been to the races but didn’t race. His work has been probably better than after his first-up win.’’
The gelding rises to 60.5kg after his first-up win and Cleary said that impost does present a query.
Up Trumpz wins at Warwick Farm on August 28
“It’s a pretty even field and he’s not a great weight carrier but, what do you do when you have a bloke like K McEvoy available,’’ he said.
“I just want another good competitive effort because we know he puts in, a good blow out and then we have 17 days to screw him right down.
“Third-up, six furlongs at Randwick he’ll be rock hard fit.’’
As far as The Kosciuszko is concerned, where Up Trumpz is $15 in TAB’s all-in market, Cleary is realistic but also excited to be a part of TAB Everest day.
He said there’s at least 26 people heading to Sydney to support the Shires family and Up Trumpz and that’s the best part of the whole experience.
“It’s no secret he’s not the best horse in the race but I just want to have him as best I possibly can for Sammy and his family,’’ he said.
“We’re really looking forward to it because they are a wonderful family and really good supporters of mine.’’
Stablemate Bart accompanies Up Trumpz to Randwick and he’s eyeing a lesser prize, in prizemoney not importance, with the $35,000 Queanbeyan Cup on November 24 the main goal this campaign.
Like Up Trumpz, Bart is one of those honest country performers who rarely puts in a bad one.
So Cleary is happy to excuse his third-up failure on a heavy track at Moruya under 61.5kg and give him his chance in the Vale Professor Hutchins Handicap (1550m).
“He needed some weight relief and things haven’t gone his way,’’ he said.
“It’s not every day you take a 4kg kid off and get Glen Boss to ride your horse. He’s been very consistent, he’s been a good money spinner and he gets his chance in town with a senior rider going on.’’