Trainer Robert Smerdon feels that Black And Bent will be at his most vulnerable when he runs in the $100,000 Lafferty Hurdle at Warrnambool this Sunday.
The talented jumper will carry 4.5 kilograms less than he did during his last win, however, Smerdon believes this advantage will be reduced due to the step up in distance and rain affected track.
”He’s in a pretty vulnerable position despite his weight drop,” Smerdon said.
”He’s got to rise to 3600 metres in what I am told will be extreme testing conditions as the rain just hasn’t stopped there.”
Black And Bent will attempt to overcome the testing conditions as he makes his way towards the Grand National Hurdle on August 14.
”But we’re pretty much committed to run there as it’s two weeks until the [Grand] National,” Smerdon said.
”He’s a tough horse, but he is going to need to be as he has to come back from a trip to Adelaide and then take on a very good field in those conditions.”
The trainer is hoping Black And Bent’s successes can continue into next year.
”We were on the path to the Nakayama Grand Jump last year before he got injured and I suppose that’s where he’s heading next year all going well,” Smerdon said.
”But there is a jumps race in Japan in December worth as much as the Grand Jump so we’ve got some thinking to do.”
Jockey Steven Pateman believes that Black And Bent belongs on the world stage.
“He’s the pin-up horse for Australian jumps racing,” Pateman said.
“He’s an awesome horse and hopefully he can take on the world one day.”
The rising six-year-old gelding has already won seven of his 13 jumps races and has accrued more than $270,000 in prize money.