SHAYNE O’CASS’ BEST BETS

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS - SHAYNE O’CASS

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.

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