By Ray Hickson
Trainer Jarrod Austin has plotted his way through the winter almost faultlessly with under-rated sprinter Inanup and after a Group test at Randwick on Saturday he’s keen to set his sights on November’s $1m The Hunter.
Inanup makes his stakes debut in the Group 3 $160,000 Mostyn Copper Show County Quality (1200m) on the back of successive wins at Benchmark 88 level.
It’ll be the seven-year-old’s fourth run this preparation then Austin plans to freshen Inanup, skip the guts of the spring carnival and aim up at the second running of the Newcastle feature over 1300m on November 14.
“We’ve mapped out a bit of a plan to get him to that race at the end of the carnival,’’ Austin said.
“I think that’s the level of horse he is and it would suit him greatly.
“I’m going to the races on Saturday fairly confident that he is going to run a good race, if he’s up to this level only time will tell.’’
Austin said he plans to make use of Inanup’s versatility and race fitness in the Show County given seven of the 11 acceptors are first-up from a spell.
Inanup wins at Randwick on August 1
While fast times weren’t the order of the day when he overcame trouble to win over 1100m at Randwick three weeks ago he was easily the fastest over the last 600m (37.69) and his last 200m of 13.19 (Punter's Intelligence) was a couple of lengths superior and that was after being badly held up.
“Looking at the pace of the race and the map, how it’s going to unfold, I think we will take advantage and roll across and hopefully be not too far away,’’ he said.
“You can ride him forward or back, you’ve only got to ask him what you want him to do, and it doesn’t matter if he’s ridden forward or back he still has a turn of foot at the end of his races.
“We’re rock hard fit, he goes into the race as good as I can get him and he certainly hasn’t gone backwards. If anything he’s improved again and we’ve got no weight on our back so it’s really exciting.
“He still goes in under the radar, it's a harder race but he certainly deserves his spot as his benchmark has climbed steadily over his last couple of wins.”
Inanup, with Glen Boss to ride, was a $10 chance with TAB on Thursday while his new stablemate Looks Like Elvis is the rank outsider at $81 but Austin is expecting a cheeky first-up run.
He’s set the bar high for the six-year-old, three times Listed placed last preparation, with the Group 1 Epsom Handicap the dream goal and said he’ll improve as the distances increase.
“He came to me in really good order and I’ve just been impressed with him,’’ Austin said.
“His work has been super and I thought his trial was excellent, even though he wasn’t asked to do much.
“He had a breakout preparation where he won four races and his benchmark climbed 20 odd points so he now has to mix it with the big boys.’’