Astute trainer Simon Foster believes underrated galloper Trusted Partner can add to his imposing first-up record in the $100,000 Bat Out Of Hell (900m) at Gold Coast on Saturday.
The lightly raced six-year-old will be having his first start in 21 weeks and has won three of five first-up starts in the past.
For a horse with an oeverall record of nine wins in 18 starts, Trusted Partner has certainly done the rounds.
He was originally trained by Darryl Caldwell at the Gold Coast before going to the Townsville stable of Garry Dickson.
His exploits up north enticed major part-owner Noel Gilbert to send the son of Untouchable to Victoria where veteran trainer Ray Besanko took over.
Trusted Partner won with all three trainers before joining Foster.
Foster was foreman for Caldwell and took over his stables when the trainer handed in his license few years ago .
In effect, Gilbert brought the gelding home and was well rewarded when Trusted Partner, having his first start for Foster, won his most important race, the Listed Lightning Handicap (1000m) at Eagle Farm in June when a $17 chance.
“Hopefully he will do the same when first-up last time and win,” Foster said.
“He has drawn well in four and hopefully he can find the fence early and go from there.
“The Bat Out Of Hell is probably not as hard a race as last year but there is still some quality gallopers in there.
“The horse is fit and well, everything has gone to plan, he has trialed well beforehand and I expect a forward showing with him.
“I think I have him going as well as when he won the Lightning.
“You have to think after the Lightning he was beaten 4-1/2 lengths in the (Group 3) Healy Stakes by Pinwheel who has turned out to be a Group 1 performer.”
It is significant to note that Trusted Partner led in the 1200m Healy but all his wins have been at 1000m and he is yet to race at 900m.
“He had a bit of clean up surgery in one of his knees when he first went to Townsville (September 2008) and it is something we treat, he spends a lot of time on the beach and we try to just keep him right,” Foster said.
“I wouldn’t mind a bit of give in the ground on Saturday, that would be perfect for him.”
“This race on his home track should suit him.
“When I first saw he had 59kg I was a bit worried but the weights have been compressed with the bottom weight on 54kg.
“If you go by the ratings, he is getting what he probably deserves considering the quality of the field.”
Foster believes the other two gallopers allotted 59kg, Seek And Find and Leapfrog, are the main dangers.
“You can’t fault the form of Seek And Find but he may have trouble getting across from barrier 10 and Leapfrog is a class performer,” Foster said.
“Leapfrog may be better off over 1100m or 1200m but he is an above average.”
Leapfrog finished second to Paprika in the 2011 Bat Out Of Hell on a heavy track.
Trainer Bruce Hill has nursed the six-year-old gelding who has had feet issues throughout is career.
“He’s a genuine old horse who has tried his guts out right throughout his career,” Hill said.
“He’s going as well if not better than he was last year – he’ll be pretty right come Saturday, I’m sure of that.”
Hill cautiously agrees with Foster that this year’s Bat Out Of Hell is easier than the past.
“It doesn’t appear as strong a race as it usually is but in my experience it never works out like that in good races,” he said.
Seven of the 12 starters in the Bat Out Of Hell have won or been placed at their most recent starts.
Inventory, who has drawn beautifully in barrier one, is one of them.
The chance of a wet track wouldn’t exclude any of the runners but would favour Multire Music who has won six of nine starts on slow ground.
Tabsportsbet have made Trusted Partner the early Bat Our Of Hell favourite at $.30 with the Norm Hilton trained Reilly Blue at $4.80 with Seek And Find.
Reilly Blue is aiming for three wins in a row after victory on home turf at Toowoomba and at Doomben on a slow track over Patties Mate on Christmas Eve.
The five-year-old has the Chris Munce factor on its side but likes to settle back and finish on.
It will be Reilly Blue’s first look at the Gold Coast track.
Leapfrog looks to be over the odds at $9.
|Race 7 – 4:20PM ATTWOOD MARSHALL LAWYERS BAT OUT OF HELL Handicap (900 METRES)|
|Of $100,000.1st $64,000, 2nd $20,000, 3rd $10,000, 4th $4,000, 5th $2,000
Quality, Minimum Weight 54kg, Apprentices cannot claim.Field Limit: 14 + 5 EM
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||87X016107X||LEAPFROG||Bruce W Hill||Jay Ford||6||59kg||92|
|2||1516X39111||SEEK AND FIND||Kelso Wood||Jason Taylor||10||59kg||92|
|3||X9010X179X||TRUSTED PARTNER||Simon Foster||Paul Hammersley||4||59kg||92|
|4||113160X211||REILLY BLUE||Norm Hilton||Chris Munce||5||57kg||88|
|5||122221107X||MONDEAN||Robert Heathcote||Jim Byrne||7||56kg||86|
|6||04X105236X||MULTIRE MUSIC||Terry McCarthy||Ms Laura Cheshire||9||54kg||83|
|7||X1911652X1||ALL THAT||Trevor Stevens||Ric McMahon||2||54kg||82|
|8||721X3103X2||BIG TONY||Trevor Miller||Eddie Wilkinson||8||54kg||80|
|9||1548X3423X||CARRY TO FORTUNE||Sandra O’Sullivan||Glen Colless||12||54kg||80|
|10||11417X2822||INVENTORY||Steve Tregea||Micheal Hellyer||1||54kg||79|
|11||331X4203X6||HUCKLEBERRY DANE||Liam Birchley||Brad Stewart||3||54kg||78|
|12||53X4183242||JOPA||Jan Pritchard||Daniel Griffin||11||54kg||74|