By Tony Megahey
Southern feature race specialist Trevor Sutherland isn’t fazed by the opposition or the bolter’s odds ($71 on TAB fixed odds) about Gentleman Max in the $200,000 TAB Highway Anniversary (1400m) and is one trainer praying for rain at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
“Not scared of anything; he’s won nine races, easily the most in the field. He's won near two hundred grand; potential is one thing, producing on the race track is another and if it rains he’s as good a wet tracker as Jungle Edge,” the Wagga Wagga-based Sutherland enthused about his rank outsider.
“We’ve drawn the car park but we’re not coming all this way to be spectators on a great day. This is a tough-performed gelding and it’s always a factor against younger and less experienced horses.
"He’s beaten a lot of them too, we were always coming and really confident of qualifying ever since this fantastic Anniversary concept was introduced.
"And for his owners to be at headquarters for an occasion like The Everest is just about as exciting as being there to watch Winx.”
Gentleman Max carries 57.5 kilos for in-form Rachel King and Sutherland was quick to explain a ninth placed finish recently in the Cootamundra Cup.
“He jarred up on a really hard track and he had 60 kilos; he needs soft going but he needed that run leading into Saturday’s race. He worked sensational this week, so nothing was amiss.
“He’s been lumping 60kg or more in the bush and won’t know himself with 57.5kg. And that Rachel is a terrific young rider, confident, strong and we’ll be hoping she can slot in with cover although we expect to be deep.”
Sutherland has trained the odd city winner over many years. His last was Trebac in a Canterbury mid-week race near a decade ago.
Prolific TAB Highway winner Matthew Dunn has Delightful Feeling ($11), Danny William has Pumpkin Pie $4.20) and Melissa O'gorman has the early favourite Suncraze ($3.40).