By Ray Hickson
In ten starts so far Bob’s Your Uncle has been kept well within his comfort zone but trainer Craig Carmody is asking him to step outside the zone for the first time at Kensington on Thursday.
The four-year-old is a real work in progress and Carmody has managed him closely.
“He’s been a handful but he’s getting more comfortable with the routine and the racing. It was a bit daunting for him early on,’’ Carmody said.
“He’s not completely out of the woods as far as relaxing fully at the races but he’s come a long way.
“He’s learned to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Once you saddle him up and get him moving he seems to turn into a fairly relaxed type, it’s just everything in between.”
Bob’s Your Uncle broke his maiden status on a heavy track back in May but this preparation has seen the fruits of the work Carmody has done to build the gelding’s confidence.
He was beaten less than a length by El Buena first-up on the Kensington track, without a trial, then placed behind On The White Turf and Criminal Code, both subsequent winners, at Canterbury a month ago.
Last start he was able to beat Merlinite, who has been unlucky since, and Criminal Code over the same 1550m course.
Bob's Your Uncle wins at Canterbury on November 27
Carmody said The Star Handicap (1800m), where he's $8.50 with TAB, represents a new challenge for Bob’s Your Uncle but he handles a wet track and has a draw that should see him relax behind the speed.
“It’s very encouraging with the strong form line around him,’’ he said.
“He’s racing above his weight as far as his benchmark goes so he is doing quite well to compete at this level at this stage of his career.
“He shouldn’t be that far away and drawn where he has he looks to possie up okay. He’s high 500kg, he’s a big loping horse but for a big horse he has a bit of energy out of the gate and puts himself in a position.
“Given the way he’s come on after the win we decided to give him a crack at the 1800m.”
Carmody, who as a jockey famously spoiled the farewell for champion Octagonal when he rode Intergaze to victory in the 1997 Queen Elizabeth Stakes, trains a small team at Randwick and has obviously put a lot of time into the horse.
He’s upbeat about the future for Bob’s Your Uncle and is excited to see how he performs.
“Probably why he is going so well is he’s coping mentally so much better,’’ he said.
“He’s jumped the hurdle this time in and that can only improve as he gets into his career. I think better things are ahead for him, he’s definitely a horse with some promise.”