By Ray Hickson
Trainer Jarrod Austin is adamant his underrated sprinter Inanup is capable of winning a good race in the next 12 months but for now he’s focused on continuing to move through the grades.
After a slashing first-up performance that next step is the Iron Jack Handicap (1200m) at Rosehill on Saturday where Inanup faces an above average line-up for a winter benchmark sprint.
“We seriously considered going to the Ramornie this prep and we had a change of heart because he has another couple of races left in him to go through the benchmark grades,’’ Austin said.
“Prizemoney in Sydney is fantastic so while we don’t need to step up to that grade yet we won’t but I don’t have any doubt he will get to that level.
“Every time he’s come back in he has improved, it’s really exciting and I feel like he’s improved again into this preparation.’’
Inanup, an $8 chance with TAB, chased home smart mare Adelong when he returned four weeks ago.
In that race he had to loop the field from well back, after drawing wide, and his last 600m of 34.59 (Punter's Intelligence) wasn’t far off the best of the day and was the race’s best by two lengths.
Inanup runs second at Rosehill on June 13
Austin said barrier four on Saturday will be a huge advantage for the six-year-old who has posted a second-up win at his past two preparations.
“He’s quite versatile, he’s gone back in his last four or five starts but mainly because he hasn’t drawn a barrier,’’ he said.
“He can race a bit handier than he has been but when I saw all that speed in the race I thought it falls right into his hands.
“I thought his first-up run was pretty good, he just got beaten by a smart one on the day, and he’s come through it quite well.
“I’ll leave it up to Nash (Rawiller) but we won’t have to be going back to last and from that barrier you’d think we would be that length or two closer in the run.”
Inanup is the Warwick Farm trainer’s ‘headline’ horse at the moment and if he can post a winter win or two and work his way into open company there could be a spring carnival aim.
It may be putting the cart before the horse a little but a race like the $1m The Hunter (1300m) run at Newcastle on November 14 under quality handicap conditions might suit him.
Austin said how Inanup performs in his next couple of starts will start to shape the new season.
“I thought it was a very strong field but he has shown he is right up to that level,’’ Austin said.
“If we can win this we know we have something to play with after. He’s on top of his game, his work has been great and we’re looking forward to Saturday.
“They always seem to underestimate him a bit but that suits us just fine.’’