KOO Wee Rup trainer Steve Theodore is having trouble not getting excited about the chances of his star sprinter in today’s listed $150,000 Wangoom Handicap (1200m).
The wet track is tailor-made for a couple of today’s contenders, including Theodore’s Don’t Get Excited, the returning Callanish, Robert Smerdon’s The Bowler and Peter Mooday’s Kneeling.
All are unbeaten on heavy ground with the first three having won two from two on heavy surfaces.
Theodore said he definitely had no concerns coming to Warrnambool today to race on a rain-affected track.
“The only thing is that he’s first-up over 1200 metres and it might race more like 1400 metres. That would make him a fraction vulnerable but I’m happy with the work we have put into him,” Theodore said.
“He’s going well and he will present well. The danger really is bad luck. He was racing in stellar form when we turned him out in February but we decided, why overtax him on good tracks when he’s so good in the wet?”
Theodore said he had a lot of owners who enjoyed attending the Warrnambool carnival and the Gold Topaz at the Swan Hill carnival was also on the agenda.
“His best distance is 1200m. We’ve aimed him at this race. We’re confident that we’ll get a good run for our money.”
Don’t Get Excited heads into the Wangoom with a record of seven wins and four placings from 18 starts, having collected $227,000 in prizemoney.
The four-year-old bay gelding has jockey Jack Hill on board and has drawn well in barrier eight.
Caulfield trainer Peter Moody said Kneeling had also won on rain-affected going.
“She’s won on it, her fitness levels are very good but we’ve probably drawn the wrong barrier. She goes into the race fit, well placed and healthy,” Moody said.
Kneeling, a brown five-year-old mare which has won three of her 25 starts and collected $207,000 in prizemoney, has drawn barrier two with Linda Meech in the saddle.
Glenhuntly trainer Robert Smerdon revealed that The Bowler would be scratched from the Wangoom.
The other leading contender is the Kane Harris-trained Callanish which strung together six straight wins in mid-2012.
Last campaign on good tracks the five-year-old bay gelding probably failed to find his best form and his record now stands at eight wins from 13 starts with $280,000 in prizemoney.
His best form from July 29-October 21, 2012, resulted in a picket fence of form with four straight wins at Sandown followed by successes at Caulfield and Seymour.
On that form he would be an enormous chance today but Callanish’s last start was at Flemington on April 13 last year when he sustained a nasty laceration to a hind leg.
Harris said he bought Callanish at the Inglis sales for $29,000 after the Flemington injury.
“He’s not too bad but it’s been a long road back,” he said.
“He suffered a severe laceration to a hind pastern in that run and a 40 per cent tear to a tendon. It was a significant injury.
“We bought him six months ago and we’ve been working on him for five months. In recent trials he’s toyed with his rivals. I’m happy with him.”
Harris is also very interested in the weather outlook for the rest of the week. “I’m looking forward to going fishing out of Portland. I hear the tuna are on the go,” he said.