By Ray Hickson
Jockey Andrew Adkins says the form guide doesn’t paint the real picture of the chances of promising stayer Emperor’s Way at Rosehill on Saturday.
The five-year-old, who won five races last preparation, has finished midfield in his two runs back but steps into his comfort zone in the Bankstown Sports Premier’s Cup Prelude (1800m).
Adkins, who rode Emperor’s Way to a Listed victory back in March, said he’s seen enough in the gelding’s recent efforts to think he’s about to lift his game sharply.
“I know eighth and ninth doesn’t read that great but he's been going well without running in the top four,’’ Adkins said.
“When I rode him first-up he hit the line nice enough, he wasn’t impressive but I was happy with it.
“Then last time it wasn’t only a hard field but a big field so looking at it I was happy enough with his run there too.’’
Winona Costin rode Emperor’s Way when he ran ninth behind Mister Sea Wolf in the Winter Challenge (1500m).
Emperor's Way last start ninth in the Winter Challenge at Rosehill on July 28
Interestingly, Punters Intel data shows he ran an identical final 600m to the winner, in 33.97, suggesting the run had plenty of merit.
Emperor’s Way is a $9 chance with TAB and he has a strong record once he reaches a middle distance with four wins and two placings from seven attempts at 1800m and beyond.
“He’s getting a bit of age about him and wanting a bit of distance. I think he’s going the right way,’’ Adkins said.
“They’ve been a couple of strong, short, sharp races which were a touch out of his range and he steps up to the 1800m which will be way more suitable.
“There should be a nice bit of speed in the race which is spot on for him and he gets his chance to be hitting the line and be a winning chance. It’s his chance to do something.’’
Adkins did point out that in his past two wins, at 2000m, Emperor’s Way has been able to take up a more tactical position and that could come in handy on Saturday from a favourable draw.
“He’s been getting back but when I won on him he was up on the speed,’’ he said.
“I wouldn’t want to be handing it up too much, he’s done it before sitting up a bit closer. It doesn’t really matter though as long as you get a nice rhythm.’’
Meanwhile, Adkins is hoping Imanui can put a shock last start failure behind him when he contests the St Johns Park Bowling Club Handicap (1500m).
The Ron Quinton-trained gelding was tracking towards a peak performance with a sound second-up fourth but showed little when beating one home behind Trafalgar at Canterbury on July 25.
“He was a bit disappointing last time out but when he ran fourth two starts ago it was a nice run,’’ Adkins said.
“I was thinking he was going to improve again last time but he went worse so he could be an improver back in distance.’’
Imanui drops 3.5kg on Saturday and TAB has kept him safe at $10.