Charging home to secure an impressive victory in the Group 3 George Moore Stakes (1200m) at Doomben on December 6th, trainer Rod Northam has revealed he will use the results of Saturday’s Listed Lough Neagh Stakes (1350m) as an indicator for Big Money’s 2015 racing campaign.
Finishing outside the places just twice over his 14 start racing career so far, Big Money ran on for a credible fourth in the Group 2 Caulfield Sprint (1100m) first-up on October 18th before a luckless run for ninth in the Group 2 Salinger Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on November 1st.
Thrilled with the form and class displayed by the Choisir gelding since returning to the winner’s circle in the George Moore Stakes, Northam told Racing Ahead he is confident of another successful tilt in Saturday’s Lough Neagh Stakes, so long as the five-year-old does not draw an outside barrier.
“He came through the run really nicely – he pulled up well and has done really well in the week since,” Northam said.
“He just had control of the race, he put himself in a spot and travelled and just looked the winner a long way out, which is something he wasn’t doing in his early career starts but he’s sort of learned how to jump and put himself in a position and travel nicely.
“He’s done really well, he seems to be getting better with racing; he’s sort of on an upwards spiral.
“The weight’s a little bit of a concern. If he’s carrying 59.5kgs and he draws an outside barrier he might find it a little bit tough but if he draws an inside gate he’ll be very hard to beat.”
Undoubtedly registering career-best form over his entire 2014 racing campaign, Northam said Big Money’s performance in the Lough Neagh Stakes will play a key role in mapping out path through the 2015 calendar.
“The only one disappointment was at Flemington when everything went against him, but he bounced back really well and his last start was probably his best win,” he said.
“He’s a very easy horse to handle; he’s a lovely quiet little gelding and just a really little tough bulldog when he gets on the track.
“If he can run well this weekend it will answer the question of whether he can run the 1350m and whether he can handle the 59.5kgs.
“We’ll probably give him a break and look to taking him back to Brisbane in the winter and see is he can’t measure up as a light-weight chance in a race like the Stradbroke.”
A final field and barrier draw for the 2014 Lough Neagh Stakes is due to be completed and released by midday Wednesday.