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Highly ranked Melbourne jockey Dwayne Dunn has retained the mount on the up and coming sprinter Ability in the rescheduled Group 3 $150,000 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) at Sandown on Sunday.

The Robert Smerdon trained Ability and Dwayne Dunn, above, will team up again in the Bletchingly Stakes at Sandown. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

The Robert Smerdon trained Ability and Dwayne Dunn, above, will team up again in the Bletchingly Stakes at Sandown. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

Premiership winning jockey Craig Williams was down to ride Ability in the Bletchingly Stakes at Caulfield last Saturday but the weight for age sprint was rescheduled for Sunday’s Ladbrokes Park Lakeside meeting at Sandown after the Caulfield meeting was called off after race four because of the gale force winds that were sweeping across the course.

The Robert Smerdon trained Ability has been working his way up through the classes with wins at his last three starts with Williams aboard for his victories in the 1000m BenchMark 78 Handicap at The Valley on June 3 and in a 1100m Open Handicap at Flemington on June 24.

Dunn then filled in on Ability for the suspended Williams for a win in the Listed $150,000 All Victorian Sprint Series Final (1200m) at Flemington on July 8.

Williams would have had first choice again but the premier jockey is off on an end of season holiday, giving Dunn the opportunity to hop back in the saddle on Sunday.

“Having achieved his mission of winning the premiership, Craig’s having a couple of weeks off so it necessitates a jockey change but it will be the bloke who rode him last start and won on him anyway,” Smerdon told AAP.

Smerdon is not worried about and extra week in between runs for Ability and will take the five year old to Sandown on Wednesday morning for a solid hit out.

“He was three weeks between runs and he’s now going to be four but he’s got the opportunity to go to Sandown on Wednesday morning for a gallop so we’ll take advantage of that,” Smerdon said.

“He’s ticking along really well.

“He worked really well last Tuesday, so he’ll have another hit-out at Sandown on Wednesday and that will keep him ticking over for Sunday.”

Smerdon admits that Ability will be facing his toughest test to date as he takes on top line sprinters Lankan Rupee and possibly Supido at weight for age for the first time.

“I think when you look at the ratings of the horses he’ll be coming up against and you consider how he would meet them under handicap conditions, he would be getting quite a bit of weight off horses like Supido and Lankan Rupee,” Smerdon said.

“Now you’ve got to give up that and see whether you can beat them on level terms.

“It’s a class test in that regard and depending on how he deals with that will determine what’s next for him.”

Ability is the winner of six of his fifteen race starts with prizemoney earnings of $278,250.

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.


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