Improving sprinter Rich Jack will faces his toughest test to date when he steps up to weight for age company in the Group 3 $150,000 Race-Tech Australia Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Rich Jack is prepared by Cranbourne trainer Carole Heffernan at Cranbourne and is a winner of five races from thirteen starts and showed that he is still on the improve with an all the way win in a $40,000 1200m BenchMark 78 Handicap at Caulfield on July 4.
Heffernan has rated Rich Jack the best horse in her small stable and she will find out on Saturday where he is ranked with the better sprinters on show.
“This will be the hardest race he has been in and we can see how good he is,” Heffernan told The Sportsman.
“If he was with Mick Price or David Hayes they have other good horses to compare with but he is my best horse and all my other horses get compared with him.”
Darren Gauci was aboard the Danerich five year old in his front running win over the Bletchingly Stakes course and distance and told Heffernan he thinks there is still plenty of improvement in him.
“Darren says we haven’t seen the best of him yet,” Heffernan said.
Heffernan is reluctant to take on noted front runner Lord Of The Sky in a speed battle but if the Group 1 placegetter jumps clean and wants to lead, Gauci will be instructed to take a sit.
“Of all things they have drawn next to each other,” Heffernan said.
“If I could have a wish I’d want Lord Of The Sky not to jump because I do worry about them having a war out in front.”
“If they want to go out hard on Lord Of The Sky we won’t ask Rich Jack to go with him and we can settle just behind him and we’d be happy with that.”
Lord Of The Sky has proved himself at the top level after collecting runner’s up cheques in two Group 1 races but he can be a little hot and cold as he proved last start when he bungled the start and failed to find the lead resulting in him be being caught wide before finishing an unspectacular seventh to Miss Promiscuity in the Group 3 $150,000 PFD Food Services Sir John Monash Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on July 4.
At his two previous starts the Robbie Laing trained sprinter raced on the pace for a nose second to Chautauqua in the Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 6 followed by a second to Flamberge in the Group 1 $500,000 Darley Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville on May 16.
Rich Jack will also be taking on Group 1 winner Smokin’ Joey who won the 2014 The Goodwood and is coming off a short let up following a brief Queensland Winter Carnival campaign that saw him run eighth to Srikandi in the Group 1 $2m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) at Doomben on June 6 followed by a win in the Listed $175,000 City Of Ipswich Eye Liner Stakes (1350m) at Ipswich on June 13.
Rich Jack is rated an $11 chance for the Bletchingly Stakes with Ladbrokes.com.au with Lord Of The Sky heading the market order at $3 just ahead of the Peter Moody trained Angles Beach at $4.60.
Bletchingly Stakes market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $3 Lord Of The Sky, $4.60 Angles Beach, $6.50 Smokin’ Joey, Petrology, $8.50 Platinum Rocker, $11 Rich Jack, $21 Nadeem Lass, $26 Written Dash, $31 Decircles, $41 Inspector, $51 Wales.