Talented sprinter Territory has drawn the outside barrier for the 2014 Ramornie Handicap, but trainer Jarrod Austin remains confident that his star galloper can overcome the wide gate in the Listed event at Grafton on Wednesday.
Territory started his winter campaign with a fast-finishing fifth behind Avoid Lightning in the Listed June Stakes (1100m) at Royal Randwick on June 7 and made up ground from towards the tail of the field again when seventh in the Winter Dash (1200m) at Royal Randwick on June 21.
Austin told News Limited that he will instruct jockey Tye Angland to follow the usual racing pattern on Territory and settle him towards the tail of the field; with the Warwick Farm-based trainer hopeful that the wide draw will not be an issue for the son of Lonhro.
“It’s not the end of the world for us,” Austin said.
“Obviously, it would have been nicer to draw a little closer but we will stick to our normal pattern now.
“We don’t have to go forward and we won’t be going forward so I’m not too worried about the barrier.”
Territory made his racing debut in 2010 under the care of Lee Freedman and he has performed well at Listed level throughout his racing career.
He stamped himself as a horse to watch with a strong front-running win in the 2010 edition of the Listed Doncaster Stakes (1400m) at Flemington and performed well in both the Listed Hoyts Food-Spices Stakes (1400m) and Listed Hilton Hotel Stakes (1400m) before making his Group racing debut with a fourth place finish in the Group 2 Sandown Guineas (1600m).
Territory failed to fire during his autumn campaign in 2011 and he suffered from a number of injury issues that restricted him to just one race start in 2012.
Austin elected to persist with Territory and he returned to the races in January of 2014 and in his eighth start for his new trainer broke through for his first race win in over three years when he took out the IPhone App Handicap (1150m) at Randwick on November 23.
Territory has since added victories over strong fields in the TAB Rewards Handicap (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 1 and the Ibis Milano Dinner Special Handicap (1100m) to his racing record and he is rated one of the leading chances in the Ramornie Handicap.
Big Money ($2.80) is currently a clear favourite in the 2014 Ramornie Handicap betting market at Ladbrokes Australia, while Territory is available at Ramornie Handicap odds of $7.