By Ray Hickson
Given not much has gone to plan for trainer Jason Deamer in his bid to win Saturday’s $1m Pages Event Hire Hunter (1300m) with Bon Amis any small favour would be welcome.
Bon Amis hasn’t raced for closing on three months and a virus prevented Deamer from giving the gelding a lead up run so when he drew ideally for Newcastle’s biggest race he took it as a small win.
Allowing for emergencies not gaining a start the six-year-old will jump from barrier four which is huge for a horse considered some risk at the 1300m, especially off a break.
“It gives me a little more confidence, he should get a nice soft run,’’ Deamer said.
“It would have been much better with a run going into it but he only had two weeks off after his last run so he has been in work the whole time.
“When he was sick he had four days off, so he's had a good grounding. At 1400m you could question but 1300m he can stretch out to.’’
In his only two attempted beyond 1200m, both at 1400m, Bon Amis recorded a second in the Provincial Championships Qualifier at Newcastle and ran fifth after a wide run in the Final at Randwick in 2018.
When The Hunter was announced earlier this year Deamer immediately thought of Bon Amis – why wouldn’t you aim a Group performed sprinter at a $1 million race on his home track.
So Plan A for Bon Amis was to run in the Group 3 Sydney Stakes (1200m) on Everest Day, won by Deprive who happened to narrowly defeat Bon Amis in the Show County in August.
When the virus put that out of play Deamer had to make use of trackwork and a barrier trial and he conceded the October 30 placing behind Graff and El Dorado Dreaming didn’t look good to the eye.
“He did need the trial, that's why Sam (Clenton) gave him a couple to make him do a bit,’’ he said.
“He doesn't seem to trial as good as he races but he definitely did need the hit out and he's had plenty of work since that trial as well.’’
Bon Amis is on the fourth line of TAB betting at $9.50 with Jason Collett retaining the ride.
Deamer is expecting a cheeky first-up run from Decroux in the Hunter Valley Premium Meats Handicap (1500m).
Bon Amis runs third in a trial at Newcastle on October 30
Like Bon Amis, Decroux hasn’t raced since late August but he’s had a smooth build up and Deamer thinks he’s in for a good campaign after winning twice and placing three more times in seven runs through the winter.
“It looks a good race for him, he's come back very well. I'd look for him to be coming home late,’’ he said.
“It was his first preparation with me and we just changed the way he is ridden, he used to lead, and he’s appreciating it.’’
Decroux is a $15 chance while Deamer rates his other runner Time Raid ($26) an outside chance in the Hunter Civilab Handicap (1200m) if he gains a start as fourth emergency.
“He looked home there the other week but when he gets to the front he switches off,’’ he said.
“It's a tough race for him but a good barrier and down in the weights he's a rough chance.’’