By Ray Hickson
There’s so much trainer Joe Pride likes about promising stayer Stockman’s chances at Randwick on Saturday you almost don’t know where to start.
He believes the four-year-old is very well weighted with 54kg in the Listed $140,000 De Bortoli Wines Christmas Cup (2400m), and is adamant it’s a big advantage that jockey Kerrin McEvoy is wiser for having had a ride on the horse.
That was last start when Stockman made a late burst to run third behind He Runs Away at his first attempt over 2400m at Rosehill.
“It was Kerrin’s first ride on him the other day and maybe with the benefit of the experience on his back he might have been able to win that,’’ Pride said.
“But that wasn’t the grand final, this is, and I’m glad he’s had the ride on him. He needs a specific ride to do his best so hopefully he gets that.”
Stockman meets He Runs Away 4.5kg better for that one length defeat and that’s not the only weight swing the gelding has in his favour.
He clashed with favourite Accountability twice prior to last start and meets him 10kg better for a half length defeat back on November 7 and 5kg better for a 1.9 length defeat two weeks late. Both races were at 2000m.
The gelding was a $4.20 second favourite on Thursday with TAB while Accountability was at $3.
“I’m the first one to tell you weight means next to nothing in a sprint race but in a staying race it means a lot,’’ Pride said.
“It’s not often you see horses get that big a turnaround as what he gets. We’re talking five and six kilos.
“He’s well treated on Saturday, probably the handicapper’s pick of the day. Weights and measures people will be pretty happy.
“The other component of winning races is winning form and he hasn’t won yet this preparation but I don’t think he’s had a better opportunity than this.”
Pride won the Christmas Cup in 2016 with his marvellous stayer Destiny’s Kiss.
It’s fair to say Stockman has been known as more a wet tracker but Punter’s Intelligence sectional data showed from his last start he clocked easily the fastest last 600m (36.36, nearly three lengths quicker) and last 200m (12.47) so he has a sharp enough turn of foot over a staying trip.
Pride said he expects Stockman to be better for his first attempt at the 2400m, that’s a trend he’s seen in many a stayer under his care over the years, and would like to see McEvoy have the horse poised within five lengths of the lead on the turn.
“He’s a backmarker, that’s not going to change, but I don’t want to be spotting them a massive start because it leaves too much to do,’’ he said.
“At the end of his career the best race he wins will be on a wet track but I don’t think he is just a wet tracker.
“I think he’s still six to 12 months away but he is a very capable horse and we’ve nowhere near seen the best of him yet.”
Stockman runs third at Rosehill on November 28
Tommy Berry will partner the Christmas Cup favourite Accountability for the first time on Saturday and learned a bit about the Chris Waller-trained gelding from the couch last weekend.
Under the 59kg, Berry felt Accountability was outsprinted but was impressed with how he attacked the line (running the fastest last 600m of 35.34 and last 200m of 12.94) behind Significance and Gone Bye.
He meets the former 5.5kg better for that clash and 2.5kg better for beating him at Kembla Grange he start prior.
“He’s been in very good form of late and was a bit unlucky last start in a slowly run race he got back,’’ Berry said.
“He’s drawn a good alley, and I might be able to use that a bit, and in with a light weight will be a good chance.”