One of the most inconsistent horses on either side of the Tasman surely has to be Firebolt, the New Zealand middle distance runner that has a mountain of ability but so often throws it away.
To be fair he has gone back to back, in fact he won at Eagle Farm last year before moving to Rosehill and winning again after a spell.
That may be the key, not pushing the horse too hard on a short turn around and giving him plenty of time between runs.
He’s had five runs so far in 2011 and when you take a look at the results it’s not hard to see why punters both love him and hate him.
In New Zealand he had three runs, 11th of 15 first up, 13th of 14 second up and then 1st of 14 third up.
After that he hopped on a plane and headed to the Brisbane Winter Carnival and the cycle continued, 10th of 15 in the Chairman’s Handicap and then 1st of 8 last start in the Lord Mayor’s Cup.
His next start is this weekend at Eagle Farm in the Listed Centenary Classic Open Mile and against what looks to be a capacity field it’s anyone guess as to which Firebolt turns up on the day.
Trainer Roger James was obviously very happy with his last start and by his eye the horse is in good shape.
“I thought it was a good solid effort (Lord Mayor’s Cup),” James said.
“He’s good now and he worked well this morning.”
His last run was on the 21st of May so with more than a month off in between starts there should be no issues at all in terms of freshness.
The only problems James foresees is that the horse could get a little bit keen and tire himself out with plenty on his back.
“He’s not the easiest horse to ride sometimes,” James said.
“He’s going to be carrying a bit of weight on Saturday as well.”
In Australia we’ve only ever really known Firebolt as a front runner which likes to get well clear and play catch me if you can.
It’s certainly the way he won the Lord Mayor’s Cup however James says if the race doesn’t work out that way he’s more than happy to hold him up further back in the pack.
“We’ll work out tactics later on, he doesn’t have to lead certainly,” he said.
Charged with the task of keeping the horse in control on Saturday will be new jockey Corey Brown with last start rider Hugh Bowman currently in the UK.