Top Adelaide jockey Jason Holder is hoping Gamblin’ Guru’s recent winning form will help to improve his race manners as he heads towards the Group 1 $500,000 Sportingbet South Australian Derby (2500m) at Morphettville on Saturday.
Gamblin’ Guru has had trouble settling in his races and this was the major factor that caused him to clip heels and dislodge his rider Claire Lindop at the 900m in the Listed $80,000 Schweppes C S Hayes Memorial Cup (1600m) at Morphettville on March 10.
The tough three year old took little harm out of the fall and co-trainers Leon Macdonald and Andrew Gluyas were able to get Gamblin’ Guru back to the track with Holder in the saddle to run second in a 1600m BenchMark 90 at Morphettville on March 29.
Macdonald had to rule out a trip to Sydney for the Group 1 $2m BMW Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on April 12 after the mishap, but his two recent wins have him on track for his home town South Australian Derby.
“The plan is to tackle the South Australian Derby and then look at Queensland,” Macdonald told AAP.
Gamblin’ Guru has learned to settle better in his races and won the Listed $80,000 Marsh Port Adelaide Guineas (1800m) on April 12 before scoring another narrow win in the Group 3 $115,000 Chairman’s Stakes (2000m) last Saturday, both wins at Morphettville.
And even though the New Approach gelding has regained his winning form and confidence, Holder can see there is still more improvement to come.
“The key is the horse can stay,’’ Holder told The Advertiser.
“He really just has to put it all together.’’
Even so, Holder was full of praise for last Saturday’s win after he said that he had to make his move a bit earlier than he would have liked after having settled Gamblin’ Guru back in the field on the fence.
“I got there a bit soon,’’ Holder said.
“But when a run like that is there, you have to take it.”
Macdonald agrees with Holder that his three year old still needs to settle better in his races if he is to run out a strong 2500m on Saturday.
“He pulled very hard, it nearly cost him the race,” Macdonald said.
“He can’t be doing that (in the SA Derby).
“My only idea would be to not race on the fence, but a lot will depend on where we draw.
“There should be some good pace in the race and that will help him.”
Gambliin’ Guru showed plenty of potential in the Spring but Macdonald decided to miss the Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington in November and put the gelding away for the Autumn after winning the Listed $120,000 Emsley Lodge Geelong Classic (2200m) at Geelong in October.