Trainer Greg Bennett is confident that stable star Clearly Innocent will have no problems performing at the opposite way of going when he makes his Victorian debut in Wednesday’s Listed Caulfield Village Stakes (1200m).
Clearly Innocent has been a strong and consistent performer for Bennett throughout his entire racing career so far, but announced himself to the broader racing community via a dominant performance for success in the Country Championship Final (1400m) at Randwick on April 2nd.
Bennett was pleased with the way that the Not A Single Doubt gelding took to a barrier trial at Caulfield on Tuesday morning, and told Racing Victoria he should find no issue in the Caulfield Village Stakes on Wednesday.
“Jake Noonan rode him for me in the jump-out and he got around nicely,” Bennett said.
“We were on the course proper at Caulfield on Tuesday; we gave him a strong 900m and took him around the full circuit.
“He’s had a good look about, and he’s worked that way each morning since.
“He’s given me the impression he’s totally happy with it.
“Obviously, the big test will be on raceday under race conditions, but there’s no reason to say he won’t get around it.
“Flemington’s a bigger track and that’ll suit him better in a couple of weeks’ time, but he’s a pretty adaptable horse, so he’ll be fine.”
Tommy Berry will return to Clearly Innocent’s saddle for the first time since his victorious run in the Country Championship Final, and Bennett believes that the booking and conditions of the race should play into the five-year-old’s favour.
“On paper, it looks like a winnable race for us if things fall into place, and if Tommy can get a good run in transit, he should be finishing off pretty well,” he said.
“He’s drawn quite well. It’s not a big field. I think there’s a bit of speed on, the rail’s true, so there’ll be plenty of room for the 12 gallopers to get around.
“I just hope we get a bit of luck in running, and he can finish it off like he normally does.”
Clearly Innocent returned to the paddock after posting a maiden black type win in the Listed Luskin Star Stakes (1300m) on May 14th, and is sure to have taken plenty of benefit from a first-up run for sixth in the Group 2 The Shorts (1100m) at Randwick on September 17th.
Ladbrokes Australia is currently offering Clearly Innocent at 2016 Caulfield Village Stakes odds of $4.