Wyong trainer Damien Lane is looking to build on a pretty good week for his stable when Johnny Roo Boy and consistent 'bridesmaid' Bend It Like Benny line up at Muswellbrook on Friday.
Lane last Friday won the Wingham Cup at Taree with easy winner Mr McBat a day after his in-form mare Cervinia made it three straight wins when she won at Gosford.
Left: Johnny Roo Boy (Jason Collett) - should bound into contention at Muswelbrook. Image by - Bradley Photographers
Lane has accepted with three horses at Muswellbrook - Johnny Roo Boy in the Benchmark 65 Hcp (1000m), Bench Star in the Benchmark 54 Hcp (1500m) and Bend It Like Benny in the Class 1 Hcp (1450m) - but has mixed feelings about a heavy track. Muswellbrook on Thursday morning was rated a Heavy 8.
"Johnny Roo Boo handles heavy conditions, but Bench Star doesn't and probably won't run," said Lane. "Bend It Like Benny hasn't raced on a heavy track yet, but has been fairly effective on soft tracks. I'll wait and see and make a decision in the morning, but I think we'll still probably run him."
Bend It Like Benny has been a frustrating horse for Lane, finishing runner-up at his past four starts. In fact, the four-year-old has finished second in nine of his 19 starts.
"He can always find one just a bit better than him," said Lane. "But he's very consistent and has won almost $60,000 in prizemoney even though he's only won the one race. I thought he was home at Taree the other day (June 2) but he just got run down."
Lane has booked 4kg-claiming apprentice Cejay Graham to partner Bend It Like Benny who will now carry 57kg. Graham, the daughter of jockey Peter Graham, only began riding on May 21 and so far has ridden three winners from her 12 rides.
"He's a sit-and-steer horse and I was keen to use Cejay's 4kg allowance in this race," said Lane. "He's had two tough runs over 1600m recently and dropping back to 1450m on a rain-affected track should suit him - but he can always find one a bit better no matter what the trip is!"
Lane has also booked 2kg-claiming apprentice Jean Van Overmeire for Johnny Roo Boy, who will now carry 59.5kg.
"Johnny Roo Boo will certainly like the heavy ground - he ran third at Warwick Farm (April 12) at his most recent run in those conditions," said Lane.