By Ray Hickson
Trainer Kim Waugh has seen a change in talented sprinter Trumbull that suggests he’s now ready to realise his full potential.
The popular Wyong trainer endured an emotional rollercoaster in the first half of the year with Trumbull who developed a surprise penchant for blowing the start in his races that cost him more than one victory through his late autumn and early winter campaign.
But after a brave first-up Group 3 Sydney Stakes win a month ago Waugh heads into Saturday’s $1m The TAB Hunter (1300m) at Newcastle feeling like she has a confident horse.
“It was the weirdest thing what he was doing,’’ she said.
“It wasn’t like he was a barrier rogue, normally if horses are missing the start they are tense in there and carrying on but he was nothing like that.
“It was quite frustrating because he is such a sensible and cool horse. It was holding us back from going to the next step in our plan.
“On the last couple of runs last prep and his trials now it looks like he’s confident and jumping nicely and we hope it stays like that.”
While she considered running the five-year-old in the Yes Yes Yes Stakes two weeks ago, and chasing a lucrative bonus, Waugh said The Hunter made sense as a target.
After Trumbull sat wide and won the Sydney Stakes on Everest Day he was given a bit of time then sent back to the trials early last week and from what Waugh has seen it was the right move.
The gelding is $4.60 TAB favourite for The Hunter where he’ll have to carry top weight of 58kg and overcome a slightly awkward draw but it’s a reflection of where the horse is now and suggests, like last year’s winner Savatiano, he can reach a new level.
“We brought him back and thought Sydney Stakes, see how he pulls up and if he pulls up well (The Hunter) is our plan of attack,’’ she said.
“I was really pleased with the way he trialled and the way he has pulled up and is working.
“The Sydney Stakes is a good marker for good horses, it’s very exciting and we’re hoping it all works out.
“He’s always shown so much potential, he's such a smart horse with a brilliant turn of foot so I am hoping he can measure up and be as good as we always thought.”
Tommy Berry continues his association with Trumbull in The Hunter and Waugh is going into the race as confident as you can be considering the depth of field a $1m race attracts.
“It’s a very good race, I’m not taking that lightly at all. They are never a gimme and you expect these races to be strong,’’ she said.
“He’s pretty versatile and even if he is a touch slow it doesn’t take much for him to go where you want him without doing anything. Then he switches off pretty well.”
Luck didn’t go the way of Great News when she was beaten into second place at Randwick earlier this month and Waugh is hoping she can atone in the Bass Floor Handicap (1400m).
Trumbull wins the Sydney Stakes at Randwick on October 17
The four-year-old drew barrier one at Randwick but Tom Sherry wasn’t able to obtain a clear run until the race was all over and while Saturday’s assignment is a tough one she’s a horse the trainer speaks highly of.
“She’s a lovely filly and we have always had an opinion of her too. She’s been immature and taken time but she’s a lovely filly to train,’’ Waugh said.
“Nothing went to plan but I thought she did a great job to run second after she lost her momentum and dropped back to about sixth.
“We haven’t drawn great but we will have to work it all out. I’m happy with her and she is measuring up to whatever we put her in so far.”
Great News was a $7.50 chance with TAB on Wednesday and Brenton Avdulla rides.