By Ray Hickson
It’s not like trainer Joe Pride to get ahead of himself and put a rap on his horses but it’s clear he’s confident promising young stayer Stockman is a horse of the future.
Stockman could find himself in the paddock after Monday’s TAB Handicap (2130m) at Warwick Farm as Pride works out what next season might look like and a fourth win this preparation will cause that planning to get interesting.
“It’s been the way for 10 or 15 years that three-year-olds who turn four aren’t competitive in the spring but this year might be a different one,’’ Pride said.
“He’s a pretty promising horse, I don’t want to get too carried away but he has some talent there and looks a tough customer to go with it.
“He has the pedigree to be pretty good and he is starting to live up to that.”
The three-year-old served notice of his staying potential with a gritty win at Randwick over 2000m on May 23 where he was forced to make a long run from near last in the heavy ground.
He’s faced with older horses, another rain affected track, though likely to be less testing, and a small distance increase but Pride said he’s come through the hard run a couple of weeks ago in fine style.
“I don’t think he’s ever the sort of horse I’d want to bring back in trip so I wanted to go up a bit more,’’ he said.
“We’ll know more on Monday but (the run) didn’t seem to faze him at all and it was the same after his run at Wyong.
“A quality of the better horses, particularly stayers, is to be able to deal with a bit of pressure and a tough run and come through it.”
Jockey Sam Clipperton is looking forward to combining with Stockman, $2.70 favourite with TAB, again and he said the fact Pride is pressing on with his preparation gives him confidence.
“I’m not concerned about the run taking too much out of him. It was a big win and he had to make a sustained run but he’s a tough horse and those horses have stamina,’’ Clipperton said.
“If anything it gives me more confidence in his ability. He’s on an upward spiral and I’m sure he will make his presence felt.”
Pride’s consistent mare Threeood chases an overdue city win in the Ranvet Handicap (1300m) after three straight placings in town.
The four-year-old, $5 in a wide TAB market, has made quick steps through the grades without winning and has had to settle for consecutive second placings in Saturday company behind Blazing Miss and Bound To Win.
Stockman wins at Randwick on May 23
“She’s been super honest and performing really well on the bigger stage,’’ Pride said.
“It’s not often they start a preparation a maiden and end up in Saturday races, you might see a three-year-old do it but four-year-olds don’t often do it so she’s in the small percentage of horses.’’
James McDonald takes the ride on Monday and Pride is hoping he can take advantage of a more favourable draw than in recent starts and get her travelling comfortably.
If that occurs he’s confident that deserved win is within reach.
“She doesn’t do many things right in her races, she was pretty good last time, but she can get over racing and make things difficult for herself,’’ he said.
“I’d like to think if she gets into an even run race she should have a turn of foot at the appropriate time.’’