By Ray Hickson
The decision making for talented mare Bennelong Dancer’s spring targets is out of jockey Blaike McDougall’s hands but he’s certain her return at Warwick Farm on Wednesday will give her connections plenty to think about.
Bennelong Dancer hasn’t raced since finishing third behind Noble Boy in the Country Championships Final (1400m) in April and is, somewhat surprisingly, only a $26 chance in TAB’s market for The Kosciuszko.
The six-year-old, trained at Albury by Donna Scott, showed she’s returned in good order with an easy win in a home track 900m trial on a heavy 10 recently.
Although her trial and race record probably doesn’t illustrate it, McDougall said the mare is lengths better on a dry track than she is in the wet and for that reason can’t wait to see what she can produce first-up.
“She didn’t used to go so well on the wet but she’s changed that a bit. I just wanted to give her a nice tick over trial,’’ McDougall said.
“I didn’t want her to do too much on a heavy track, I didn’t want to take too much out of her before she has a run.
"She jumped and put herself there and did it all very easily, I was quite impressed.
“She will obviously improve with the run and will be better at seven furlongs but she’s fit enough and sharp enough for this assignment.’’
McDougall is aware that one of Bennelong Dancer’s goals for this season is to add some black type to her name but obviously the $1.3m The Kosciuszko is also an appealing target.
The latter is up to the 14 prospective slot winners but McDougall is expecting some kind of statement to be made in the Street Boss @ Darley Handicap (1200m) on Wednesday.
Given Bennelong Dancer’s place in the Kosciuszko market it’s interesting that she’s the $4 TAB favourite while the emerging Herzegovina, chasing four straight wins, is $8.50 but is considerably shorter in the betting for the October 19 feature.
With the 2kg claim for McDougall, last season’s country apprentice of the year, Bennelong Dancer carries 57kg for her first-up mission and has drawn barrier two which is ideal according to the jockey.
“She’s my favourite for a reason, she’s push button,’’ he said.
Bennelong Dancer wins a trial at Albury on July 30
“She jumps, makes her own luck and puts herself in races and travels on the bridle.
“She’s come up a lot quicker than most preparations, she has come back extremely well and is ready to go.’’
Tickets for the $1.3m The Kosciuszko (1200m) at Royal Randwick on October 19 are available at all TAB outlets and via the TAB app for $5 each until Sunday 8 September.
For full details on the Kosciuszko visit The Kosciuszko website.