Sweet As Bro has failed to fire in his two race starts this preparation, but co-trainer Leon Corstens is confident that the talented gelding can return to his best form in the 2014 Wodonga Gold Cup tomorrow.
Sweet As Bro stamped himself as a horse to watch when he recorded three straight wins including the Listed Kilmore Cup (1600m) during his 2014 Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival campaign, but he returned to racing with a poor effort in the Group 3 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) and produced a flat performance when eighth in the Group 3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1300m) at Sandown on November 15.
Corstens told RSN this morning that Sweet As Bro had been plagued by a few niggling issues coming out of the Bobbie Lewis Quality, but he believes that the High Chaparral gelding took plenty of benefit out of his run in the Kevin Heffernan Stakes and is ready to run a big race in the Wodonga Gold Cup on Friday.
“We had some issues with him after his first-up run down at Flemington and he just had virus and it just took us a while to get him right,” Corstens said.
“I think that he needed that run the other day just to blow out the cobwebs and his work has been excellent.
“We expect a really good run from him tomorrow.
“He is a lovely horse and he has just had a few niggling little things.
“Once they have that ability it is always there and it is just a matter of getting them right and making sure that it comes back.
“I am looking forward to tomorrow to see him put his best foot forward.”
Jockey Chad Schofield elected to settle Sweet As Bro at the tail of the field in the early stages of the Kevin Heffernan Stakes before asking the five-year-old for an extra effort in the final stages of the race, but the gelding did not show the turn-of-foot that he is capable of and was only able to run past three horses.
Corstens admitted that he would have liked to see Sweet As Bro hit the line with more gusto in the Kevin Heffernan Stakes, but said that the Group 3 event was like a first-up run for the Listed winner due to the big gap between his race starts.
“It was ok and it was a pass mark,” Corstens said.
“We would have liked to see him finish off that little bit better and had he finished two lengths closer you would have said that was a really good run.
“We would have liked to see him finish off a little bit better, but we put that down to really being like it was first-up again.
“He just didn’t let down the way that you would have liked to have seen him.”
Sweet As Bro will need to perform at his best to return to winning form in the Wodonga Gold Cup after the likes of Spacecraft, Saint Or Sinner, Stratigraphy, Tully Costa and Allelu were all included in the acceptances for the $80,000 race.