Trainer Robert Smerdon is confident that the wet track will suit The Bowler when he takes on the older horses in the 2014 Wangoom Handicap at Warrnambool tomorrow.
The Bowler has had two starts for Smerdon, after previously being trained by Tony Vasil, and finished eighth in the Smithfield Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on April 5 and seventh in the Bert Bryant Handicap (1200m) carrying big weights.
Smerdon has elected to give The Bowler an opportunity in an open black type race tomorrow, to avoid carrying another big weight in a three-year-olds contest, and is hopeful that the son of Testa Rossa will be benefited by the heavy track that is expected at Warrnambool throughout the week.
“He is another horse that has terrific wet track form,” Smerdon told RSN this morning.
“That might be an advantage for him and he gives plenty of weight in the three-year-old races, so we decided to shunt him up to open grade and get some weight relief.
“This time of year the three-year-olds are not far off turning four.”
Smerdon does not have his usual large team at Warrnambool this week, but will still be represented in the Listed Warrnambool Cup (2350m); with 2013 The Australian Hurdle winner Westsouthwest set to contest the race.
Westsouthwest made a slow start to his autumn preparation, beating home just a single runner in the Perri Cutten Handicap (1400m) at Caulfield on February 22 and the Yarra Valley Cup (1950m) on March 16, but returned to a semblance of his best form with a third place finish behind Signoff in the Medownick Laser Clinic (2500m) at Moonee Valley on March 29 before winning the Sportingbet.com.au Handicap (2400m) at Caulfield on April 12.
Smerdon believes that Westsouthwest is in the best form of his racing career, but is unsure whether the son of Darci Brahma is good enough to record his maiden win at Listed level against a strong field in the Warrnambool Cup.
“He handles the conditions, he is in form and he is fit, but whether he is quiet good enough to beat horses like Akzar I’m not sure,” Smerdon said.
“He is going well and is going as good as he can I think.”
Smerdon is chasing his first win in The Wangoom Handicap since he took out the 2005 edition of the race with McCarthy’s Bar and his first Warrnambool Cup victory since 2011.