By Ray Hickson
If trainer Scott Singleton is right and his bold front-runner Partners is continuing to improve with racing then he could leave Rosehill on Saturday with a contender for the $1.3m The Kosciuszko.
With just a month left before the $5 ticket sales wind up and the 14 slot winners are drawn, it’s important for an up and coming horse like Partners to really make his presence known to potential ticket holders.
And Singleton is confident the TAB Handicap (1200m) is an ideal opportunity to do just that.
“I was looking at that Kosciuszko market and you just know he’s going to beat a lot of the ones in there, obviously there’s that five or six at the top but there wouldn’t be a lot between the rest of them,’’ Singleton said.
“I think we’ll see (he is a contender) on Saturday, I reckon he’s come on again.
“It’s all about getting him in there. If he happens to win on Saturday I think he puts his hand right up.
“He’s definitely Saturday town grade but I think he is improving a length all the time. The best he’s ever worked at home was this morning (Wednesday), that says to me he’s going the best he’s ever gone.’’
Partners is on the $26 line in TAB’s Kosciuszko market and despite winning two of his last three starts plus a second to he in-form Varda two weeks ago, he’s a $7.50 chance on Saturday.
It’s always worth noting when a trainer says a horse worked better than he ever has so the question to Singleton was - what did Partners do on Wednesday morning that stood out?
“If you watch a horse work enough times you know the difference, this morning you wouldn’t get many horses working better than he did,’’ he said.
“He is a good trackworker, he gets out there and does his job, but even for a good worker it was good work.’’
The front-running style of Partners will be on show again and he’ll carry 53.5kg after the claim for Brock Ryan, who rode the gelding to victory over the Rosehill 1200m a month ago.
Singleton said he found out pretty early in the five-year-old’s life that his will to run couldn’t be harnessed and that fighting him was pointless. It means nobody dies wondering when he races but it also presents a challenge for the jockey to keep the horse happy.
“I’ve had him since he was a yearling and he’s never had any speed control,’’ he said.
“As soon as you grab him he just wants to go quicker and fight you. We tried everything to get him out of it. He’s the same at home, you’ve either got to go slow work or flat out there’s no in between.
“He races better just doing his own thing.
“Going fast is all right but you don’t want him to be going too hard, you don’t want him fighting you. You have to let him go whatever pace he wants without grabbing him, if they don’t try to restrain him too much he tends to be able to go quickly and keep going.”
The Scone trainer has the fingers crossed that the forecast for weekend rain doesn’t arrive at Rosehill as he says Holy Empress isn’t as at home as her stablemate in heavy ground.
Partners runs second at Rosehill on July 25
With that in mind he said her last start sixth in a 1500m TAB Highway two weeks ago, where she made ground from near last, is better than it looks and she should relish an extra 300m.
“She’s just been going a couple of lengths under her best because she would like it a bit firmer,’’ he said.
“Those last couple of runs in similar Highways she’s been pretty competitive. I would like to see her not get so far back.
“She has done enough to earn her spot, it’s just a big question mark on how wet it is going to be.’’
The third running of the $1.3m The Kosciuszko (1200m) at Royal Randwick will be held on October 17 and the $5 tickets are on sale via TAB outlets and the TAB app until Wednesday 8 September with the 14 winners drawn a day later.
The 14 winners can then enter into a partnership with the owners of their preferred horse, effectively becoming a part-owner for the day, and agree to a split of the prizemoney.