Day At The Track

Sprinter turns stayer for Abettor ID Challenge

04:36 PM 13 Feb 2014 NZDT
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Abettorpunt - is ready to announce himself on the big stage.

t’s taken longer than a lot might have expected, but the highly talented Abettorpunt is ready to announce himself on the big stage.

A top flight two and three-year-old, the David Lewis-trained gelding notched up victories in heats of the Breeders Crown and Victoria Derby in his juvenile and classic seasons.

With a season or two plying his trade, the son of Bettors Delight struck back with a vengeance as a late five-year-old and early six-year-old.

And after a preparation interrupted by two or three uncharacteristic performances, Lewis has his stable star fighting fit for the sport’s holy grail.

“He was very good in the Hunter Cup, we were a little bit happier with him during the week because he had had a few niggles with that foot probably the last month or so and it had burst out,” Lewis said.

“He felt really going into that race so we’re really happy with him. He’s work has been great this week, I’m still really happy with him so there will be no excuses Saturday night; I think he will be at his absolute best.”

His best has him touted as a Grand Circuit star of the future just a few months ago and following his slashing fourth in the Hunter Cup, the stars have aligned.

Lewis won’t be left wondering what if either. The confidence he has in the horse means that even in a race where qualifying for the Inter Dominion is priority one, Abettorpunt will be out to crush his rivals.

“We’ll probably follow through and be the first to pull out three-wide and sit out there and see if we can get home in the straight,” he said.

“It won’t be easy because they will be running home really quick but we’ll try and make it into a staying test. I don’t think we can afford to just sit back and wait for something to happen.

“I think if the opportunity arises early and they want to slow up a little then we’d be inclined to go around. It’ll just be about what unfolds early in the race.”

Known for his sprinting ability early doors, his trainer has noticed a shift in his racing style.

And it’s something that will be music to the ears’ of any punters ready to step into the $17 TAB fixed odds for the Inter Dominion final because the gruelling 3009 metres at the Menangle track is likely to suit Victoria’s rising star down to the ground according to Lewis.

“Further into his career he seems to have changed direction; I always thought he was a sit-sprinter but maybe I don’t think he is now.  Every race he’s been in the last seven or eight he has been making ground late,” he said.

“When he has run at Menangle as well he has hit the line full of running so if you go to the 3000 metres and he gets in then he can make it very interesting I’d say.

“We’re pumping as much work as we can into him because he seems to be able to handle it. Every time we step it up at home in the last three or four months he has handled it so we are just cruising along now.”

Blake Redden (Harness Racing Australia)

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