Three year old Counterattack needs plenty of luck from a wide barrier if he is to figure in the prizemoney in the Group 3 $125,000 Sky Racing Fred Best Classic (1350m) at Doomben on Saturday.
Trainer Chris Waller is be relying on the magic of top jockey James McDonald to navigate a winning course on Counterattack who drew barrier eighteen in the original draw but is likely to start from fifteen when the field is finalized to sixteen runners at scratching time on Saturday morning.
Counterattack was scratched from the Group 1 $500,000 BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben last Saturday when Waller elected to bypass the weight for age sprint and keep the three year old to his own age group in the Fred Best Classic.
Drawing a wide barrier has been a minor setback for the Redoute’s Choice colt, but McDonald has plenty of time from the 1350m start to find some cover before hitting the first cornet at the 800m mark.
“He is going to need some luck, especially at Doomben,” Waller said.
Waller has a very high opinion of Counterattack and has been happy with his progress since finishing a nose second to stablemate Japonisme in the Group 2 $500,000 Arrowfield 3yo Sprint (1200m) at Randwick on day two of ‘The Championships’ on April 9.
“He is going good, though, he is going terrific. He is a very good horse. It is as simple as that,” Waller said.
“Counterattack is a class act.”
Waller will also saddle up the in-form Sir Bacchus who has drawn a lot better at barrier eight and will have the services of Hugh Bowman who is flying in from Japan to ride at Doomben.
Waller also thinks that Sir Bacchus is the makings of a good horse and he has been impressive with wins at his last two starts at Rosehill in a 1200m BenchMark 75 Handicap on April 23 and in a 1200m BenchMark 78 Handicap on May 7.
“He is going good. Steps up to a new level on Saturday. Taking on some pretty handy horses up the top of the race there,” Waller said.
“He couldn’t be any more impressive at his last couple.”
“He has done it all in a very short time. He has worked well since then and he is half a step away from being a really good horse.”
Sir Bacchus currently shares favouritism with the Darren Weir trained Rageese at $4 for the Fred Best Classic at Ladbrokes.com.au with Counterattack on the second line of betting at $7 alongside of Toowoomba three year old Sold For Song.
Market order for the Fred Best Classic at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4 Sir Bacchus, Rageese, $7 Counterattack, Sold For Song, $7.50 Takedown, $10 Rangipo, $21 Denmagic, $26 Too Good To Refuse, Tivaci, Fiery Heights, $31 Havasay, $34 Perfect Dare, $41 Cashing Up, $51 The Virginian, $81 Privlaka, Right Advice, $151 In His Stride.