Trainer Barry James is hopeful that exciting colt Betcher can make his racing debut in the 2014 Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Betcher was included in the nominations for the Group 3 event, but he is currently sitting at the bottom of the order of entry and will need at least six other colts or geldings to be withdrawn from the field in order to be assured of a start.
The son of Bernardini made onlookers stand up and take notice with an impressive performance in a barrier trial over 800 metres at Cranbourne last Thursday and James told RSN this morning that he has a very high opinion of the colt, but admits he will face a tough test if he gets a run this weekend.
“I think that he has a bright future,” James said.
“He seems to a nice type of horse.
“He will accept and we can hope he gets a run.
“There are some very good horses in it and we are not getting carried away.
“As long as he runs a good race we will be happy and if he goes better than we think that is better still.”
Betcher was kept under a heavy hold by jockey Damian Lane in his debut barrier trial appearance, but was still able to run the 800 metres in 46.18 seconds – just one hundredth of a second behind classy sprint Lankan Rupee who defeated a strong field to win the opening trial of the day.
The performance was so impressive that a number of owners in Hong Kong have made an offer for the talented two-year-old, but James confirmed that Betcher was not for sale at this stage.
“Nothing has happened at this stage,” James said.
“We have had a few offers on the horse because he has shown enormous ability and he was so impressive in the time that he ran.
“It was almost as fast as the open horses did that day.”
James trains in partnership with his son Glen and is chasing his first win at Group level since he took out the 2004 edition of the Sunline Stakes (1600m) with Sylvaner.
The 2014 Blue Diamond Prelude Colts and Geldings edition has drawn a strong list of nominations; with Maribyrnong Plate winner Boomwaa, Team Hawkes-trained Nostradamus, Blue Diamond Stakes favourite Rubick, Blue Diamond Preview winner Mohave and Mark Kavanagh-trained Chivalry all set to contest the Group 3 event.