By Ray Hickson
There’ll be a nervous moment or two for jockey Chad Lever and supporters of Provincial Championships favourite Archedemus as he’s loaded into barrier one at Rosehill.
The talented five-year-old is just getting the hang of the racing game and his barrier manners are improving but potentially standing there for a few minutes as the field loads for the Ranvet Handicap (1350m) creates a few worries.
At his debut he reared a couple of times in the gates and took no part and he also bombed the start at Wyong prior to his maiden win.
“He used to have a few problems in the barriers and play up a bit when he gets in there but he’s been getting a lot better,’’ Lever said.
“Drawn one, hopefully he begins well. He doesn’t normally begin well that often which doesn’t make things easier.’’
Archedemus is the $6.00 TAB favourite for the Provincial Championships and holds sway at $4.20 for Saturday’s race.
No small part of the reason he’s favourite for the Provincial series is his near 10 length Kembla Grange win in December on a heavy track and with wet conditions this week he’s in his element.
The gelding, trained by Gwenda Markwell, has won three of his five starts including an easy fresh win at Warwick Farm on February 13.
Archedemus wins at Warwick Farm on February 13
“He’ll take a fair bit of improvement out of his first run back,’’ Lever said.
“It would have suited us if the speed had been a bit faster but I was happy with the way he finished it off. He took a bit to go through his gears but once he got to top gear he was happy.
“If something had come at him I think he would have gone again.
“He’s not the finished product yet, I think he can be a very classy horse he just has to put everything together.’’
So what is Lever’s plan should Archedemus spring the gates?
“From there we will come out and be positive, if something goes mad and wants to take it up we will have a sit,’’ he said.
Archedemus is likely to attempt to qualify for the Polytrack Provincial Championships through the Kembla Grange Qualifier on March 23.
Markwell and Lever combine in Sunday’s $150,000 Qualifier (1400m) at Hawkesbury with another promising type in Angel Of Truth, a $10 chance with TAB.
The three-year-old has put together three wins on end at Kembla and while he’s coming back in distance Lever said he’s not to be ruled out.
“He’s going to be a nice 2000m horse,’’ he said.
“His last win was pretty good though he is coming back from 1600m to the 1400m. I haven’t drawn the best but we’ll see where we land, if we can get a bit of cover it will give us the chance to finish off.’’