By Ray Hickson
Trainer Richard Litt is adamant Handfast is going a lot better than the form guide might suggest and hopes he can prove it at Randwick on Saturday.
The former Godolphin galloper has had four starts for Litt and finished fourth on three occasions.
He’s been largely ignored as a $21 chance in the TAB.com.au Plate (1400m) but the trainer is expecting the five-year-old, a last start fourth in the Winter Dash behind I Thought So, to be very competitive.
“He’s going very well, unfortunately he’s been a victim of a couple of bad barriers and has missed out on a few runs,’’ Litt said.
“At home he couldn’t be going better. Finally we have a good barrier draw and I’m hoping the track is improving a little bit at least.
“I buy a lot of tried horses and most of them go well pretty quick. This horse has been going well but he hasn’t been lobbing into the placings, I really hope Saturday is his day.’’
Handfast has produced a couple of handy finishes, according to Punters Intel, in his two starts in June.
He ran the second fastest last 600m, behind the winner Noire, running 35.69 for his last 600m and 12.45 the last 200m on June 9.
Handfast runs on from last into fourth at Randwick on June 23
Then two weeks later in open company he ran 35.64 for his last 600m after turning for home at the tail.
“We’ve had on option but to keep going back, from (barrier) three he can be in the first half of the field and will get his chance,’’ Litt said.
“He wasn’t far off Jungle Edge the other day so I can’t see why he couldn’t win.’’
Jockey Adam Hyeronimus is back on Handfast on Saturday after riding him first and second-up and Litt said he hopes it can be third time lucky.
“The first time he went out in front a bit too quick and then from a wide gate he got caught wide and took off,’’ he said.
“I don’t like to judge them too much because it’s not the easiest job in the world.
“He just needs the stars to align. He’s the best galloper I have at home working wise, he couldn’t be going better and we just need a bit of luck on his side.’’
Stablemate Joe’s Joy steps up in class and distance in the Winter Racing Handicap (2400m) but Litt warned she’s not out of place despite being the outsider of the nine horse field at $19 with TAB.
The four-year-old was run down by Reneged after leading over 1900m at Canterbury on June 27 and Litt said that run topped her off nicely.
“It is a step up in grade but her run last start was very good,’’ he said.
“She loves the soft conditions and is bred to stay all day. I’m looking forward to seeing her go around, she’ll probably go forward and lead and make her own luck.
“The breed are mudlarks and stay all day, she just has to bowl along and do her own thing up front.’’