By Ray Hickson
Trainer John Thompson is confident a short mental break and drawing the ‘perfect gate’ has talented mare Sweet Deal poised to recapture winning form at Randwick on Saturday.
The six-year-old was an impressive first-up winner of the Group 3 Toy Show but endured taxing runs from awkward barriers in two subsequent starts and that prompted Thompson to hit pause.
With 10 days out on a farm and ticking over via the water walker, Sweet Deal returns in the Group 3 $200,000 Daily Press Nivison (1200m) and the Randwick trainer said it's done the mare a world of good.
“She came back refreshed, looking amazing and ready to go again,’’ Thompson said.
“We just gave her a freshen up, she’s a month between runs, it’s been good for her mentally.
“At her last couple of runs she’s drawn the car park and just had horrid runs. From barrier one she’s going to get the gun run so I’m rapt with that.”
As a rule trainers prefer to ‘draw well’ and while Thompson didn’t shy away from the double digit barriers in her ninth placings in both the Sheraco Stakes and Golden Pendant he said one is a blessing for Sweet Deal.
And under the set weights and penalties scale he said she’s very well weighted with 56.5kg.
“The perfect way to ride this mare is to box seat her,’’ he said.
“It’s just the perfect gate for her. She just goes so much better coming off a horse’s back and the last couple of runs we haven’t been able to do it.
“She’s had to work from a wide draw and she just doesn’t finish off her races like she does having a sit.”
Thompson and jockey Nash Rawiller combined back in 2010 to win the Nivison with Marquardt.
Sweet Deal was a $7 chance with TAB on Wednesday, the same price as stablemate Cuba in the Robrick Lodge Filante Handicap (1400m) and Thompson warns he can bounce back quickly from an interstate failure.
Cuba resumed with a gutsy second behind subsequent Epsom winner Probabeel in the Group 3 Bill Ritchie then continued a trend that frustrates Thompson when he beat two home behind Windstorm at Caulfield two weeks ago.
“His whole career second-up he’s been horrendous,’’ he said.
“We tried to mix it up this time in by going to Melbourne second-up, just thinking it might spur him on by taking him somewhere else and racing in a different direction.
“Once again he went terrible but his third-up record is very good and he usually bounces back.”
Sweet Deal wins the Toy Show at Randwick on August 22
Thompson has a healthy respect for the up and coming Criaderas and expects Cuba to take up his usual forward position from barrier two.
It’s worth noting the gelding has won three of his past four third-up attempts including the Listed National Sprint (1400m) back in March.
If Cuba does return to form it's likely that Thompson will test him out at a mile for the first time.
“Criaderas looks a promising horse but other than that if he bounces back to his best he will be hard to beat,’’ he said.