By Ray Hickson
Dubbo trainer Kody Nestor hasn’t always had The Kosciuszko in mind for Jailbreak but is giving the gelding the chance to press his case at Kensington on Wednesday.
Nestor’s Plan A for this preparation was to lay the foundation for a Country Championships bid next year but his first-up win was so impressive he’s throwing his hat in the ring for a Kosciuszko berth.
With Bathurst-trained El Mo succumbing to injury last week, two spots remain open in the $1.3m Kosciuszko, run on October 17, and Jailbreak, who also hails from the central west, might be in the right place at the right time if he wins the Exceedance New To Vinery Handicap (1250m).
“Timing wise he has to go to town so it probably works out all right,’’ he said.
“If he happens to win the race you never know we might get a slot.
“He has improved that extra couple of lengths and that’s why we’ve elected to have a shot and take them on. We have a great back up plan if it all fails.”
Jailbreak was beaten a diminishing two lengths by Fender, who has a Kosciuszko slot, back in April and made light of a wide gate when resuming with an all the way win at Dubbo on September 13.
Nash Rawiller, who won last year’s Kosciuszko on Handle The Truth, is back on board on Wednesday after riding the four-year-old, $5.50 with TAB, a couple of times in Highway races earlier this year.
“I reckon he’s come back improved, I know he had to but he seems to have a bit more vigour in him,’’ Nestor said.
“He’s really wanting to rush through the line in his work.
"I was doubtful last preparation whether he had the hunger and will to win where he’s come back and shown it all the way through and obviously first-up.
“He gets every chance, I think Gai’s horse (Regal Stage) will probably push forward and try to lead. It’s the sort of horse that can take you right into the race but I’ll leave it up to Nash.”
In his first-up win Jailbreak easily accounted for stablemate Sneak Preview, who won the Coonamble Country Championships Qualifier back in March.
The runner-up from that Qualifer was another stablemate Fast Talking, also engaged at Kensington on Wednesday, and that horse ran fourth in the Final.
So Nestor has a fair idea of what makes a Country Championships horse in his area and that’ll be where he’s heading if Jailbreak, a winner of four from 14 starts, doesn’t win and sneak into the Kosciuszko.
“He has two wins up his sleeve so he’s on that borderline,’’ he said.
Jailbreak wins at Dubbo on September 13
“He’s just at the right point with El Mo dropping out, we’ll have a shot at the stumps. If he’s lucky enough to make it to the Kosciuszko we could still get two shots at the prize.”
Meanwhile, Nestor said not to overlook Fast Talking in the Hyland Race Colours Handicap (1800m) despite being unplaced as favourite in the Dubbo Cup.
The six-year-old was runner-up at Canterbury back in May and finished a close fourth at his only start on the Kensington track a year ago.
“I expect an improved run, I think he will run a competitive race,’’ Nestor said.
“He didn’t have the greatest lead up to the Dubbo Cup and the way the track played didn’t help him.”