If Bitobliss can take out Saturday night’s Inter Dominion heat then go forth to the ultimate glory on March 2 at Tabcorp Park Menangle, then his trainer Scott Stewart could be ready to draw a curtain on his mercurial career.
At $14 TAB fixed odds for his heat and $41 for the final however, retirement will be the last thing on his mind as the pair step onto the Melton track this Saturday night.
For all his ability, there is no doubt Bitobliss has failed to recapture his absolute best form in his last handful of starts.
But a return to the 2240 metres at Victorian HQ and a decent barrier in two might be just the thing needed to turn his fortune around.
“He seems alright at home. The vets can’t find anything wrong with him, that’s why we’re still racing him. His form doesn’t look as good as it should but he’s not far away,” Stewart said.
“He’s still got it in him; it’s just a matter of whether he is a bit older and thinking about other things.
“If he happened to win this week and then win the Inter Dominion then that would nearly be it for him. He’s probably thinking about other things so we’ll just see what happens.”
TAB fixed odds have reported an avalanche of money for race favourite Restrepo ($2.50 into $2.25) with a single bet of $2,000 on the Ballarat Cup champion.
And drawn directly outside him, Stewart would like nothing more than to cross down to the pegs first.
Restrepo however, is noted for his gate speed and with plans A, B and C all in the locker, it’s something that hasn’t been lost on the Bitobliss team.
“It’s our intention to try and cross Restrepo but I doubt I can get past him. He’s pretty quick so ideally I’d like to be behind the leader but I can’t see that happening with Keayang Cullen starting on his back,” Stewart said.
“He’s raced good when being saved for one run. In saying that, when he’s right I think he can race anywhere and I think he’s pretty right but if you work him early and then get shuffled back then you’ve got to work again.”
By Blake Redden (Harness Racing Australia)