SHAYNE O’CASS’ BEST BETS
CAN our most recent Kosciuszko winner “handle’’ the 1400m?
It’s the one question that punters want answered before they back up on Handle The Truth to take out today’s Goulburn Cup (1400m).
The son of Blue Diamond winner Star Witness has only been tried over 1400m once, finishing 4.3 lengths seventh of 15 in the SERA Championship Qualifier at the same track back on March 2.
No doubt, though, Handle The Truth is a better horse now and no one knows that better than his trainer, Keith Dryden.
“I wanted to try him at the 1400m because it just widens our horizons a little bit,’’ Dryden said.
“It is a concern as he is just a little bit too brilliant early but I think if he gets a nice cover, he will run the 1400m out.
“You never know until you try them. I’ve had 1000m horses and couldn’t win a 1200m with them. I won this exact race with a horse years ago called Serkelt, he won all of his races at 1000m and couldn’t win at 1200m then I stepped him up to a mile and he won the Goulburn Cup.’’
(The Goulburn Cup was, for a long while, run over 1600m but has been reduced to 1400m.)
Handle The Truth will be reunited today with his second biggest fan, jockey Blaike McDougall, and will start from barrier one in the 11-horse field.
“I would have preferred somewhere between three and seven,’’ Dryden said, “just to give him that option but, from there, I don’t suppose he will cover much extra ground just as long as he can get a crack at them in the straight.
“If everything works out all right and we get a bit of luck, I think he will run well.
“He is going into this third run this prep, the only excuse would be is that he can’t run 1400m.
“It’s one of those things, some can run it, some can’t; we’ll find out on Sunday.’’
Should Handle The Truth be able to beat the likes of Country Championships winner and Kosciuszko fourth Noble Boy today, it will have far-reaching effects on his programming.
“He would probably have one more run, maybe not, then go to the paddock and have a break until after Christmas some time,’’ Dryden said. “I would think we would probably at some stage head to the Brisbane carnival with him if he can run 1400m.
“The owners are dreaming about Stradbrokes and things like that. I have previously had a runner in the Stradbroke and he ran third, Into The Night. He was areal good horse I trained for the same people.
“So, we feel we have a little unfinished business there.’’
Handle The Truth today will be ridden by Blaike McDougall in the Goulburn Cup today.