The 2014 Hill Stakes at Royal Randwick tomorrow is set to be a tactical affair and jockey Brenton Avdulla admits that he is worried by how the race maps for his mount Bagman.
The Hill Stakes will have only six runners following the scratchings of Entirely Platinum and Multilateral and there is set to be very little pace in the early stages of the Group 2 event over 2000 metres.
Bagman produced one of the best performances of his career to finish third behind Hawkspur and Royal Descent in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on September 6 and Avdulla was thrilled with the effort of the son of Easy Rocking, but admits that he is not sure where the veteran gelding will end up in the early stages of the Hill Stakes.
“He ran really well the other day,” Avdulla said.
“It was a big ask for him against Hawkspur and that at weight-for-age and he goes to another race at weight-for-age.
“He has six from eight and it is a little bit of an awkward alley, but I am sure that he will be racing midfield or a little bit worse.
“The race does look a little bit tricky from his speed map, as a lot of weight-for-age races are, but he gets his chance, he is racing really well and I am sure that he will run top three.”
Bagman returned to the races after over a year in the paddock with a promising effort in the Octagonal Handicap (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on May 31 and failed to fire in the Sydney Markets Limited Handicap (1400m) at the same venue on June 14 before he returned to a semblance of his best form with a narrow defeat to Scream Machine in the Natski Handicap (1500m).
The eight-year-old was sent to Melbourne and finished third in the Catanach’s Jewllers Handicap (1800m) at Caulfield on July 26 before he scored his first race win since he took out the 2012 edition of the Listed Penang Trophy (1800m) with a strong effort in The Valley Handicap (2040m) on August 2 and made it two wins from as many starts in the Legacy 2014 Badge Appeal Handicap (2000m) at Caulfield on August 16.
Bagman is currently available at Hill Stakes odds of $7, while Criterion and Moriarty are locked in a battle for favouritism in the betting market with Ladbrokes Australia.