NO matter who rides Bon Amis on Saturday at Rosehill, Newcastle trainer Jason Deamer is confident his stable star is primed for his toughest test to date.
Bon Amis will chase back-to-back wins at the track in the benchmark 88 sprint (1100 metres) to kick-start this preparation.
The five-year-old gelding has drawn 10, which will likely become eight, but Deamer was yet to confirm a jockey after usual rider Rory Hutchings was called up by Chris Waller to guide Mister Sea Wolf in the group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) in Perth on Saturday.
“We’ll just wait and see if there are any scratchings to see who rides him,” Deamer said. “I’ve got James McDonald lined up if his [Coruscate] is scratched, but you don’t know.
“Glyn Schofield hasn’t got a ride in it. Robbie Dolan’s on the second emergency, and he’s riding good. He gets three kilos off and that brings him right in. We’ll worry about it in the morning.”
He has also had to find a new trackwork jockey this week. Deamer, a former race jockey, typically rides Bon Amis in work but he is sidelined with a broken foot from when Tabrobane stood on him five weeks ago. Cameren Swan has filled in but is away, and Deamer had turned to former top apprentice Sammie Clenton this week.
Regardless, Deamer has been pleased with Bon Amis’ work since he resumed on November 10 at Rosehill with a 1.3-length victory over 1100m. He took out the benchmark 78 handicap from gate four carrying 59.5 kilogams. He drops to 57kg on Saturday and has a strong Rosehill record of two wins and three seconds in six starts at the track.
“He’s drawn a little bit awkward so we’ll need a bit of luck from the barrier,” Deamer said.
“But there looks to be good speed on paper so he might be able to slot over and get a spot behind them.
“He’s up in class but down in weight. It looks like a fairly open race. There’s a fair few chances but he’s done well since the run.
“It’s probably his toughest test to date but if you keep winning, you’ve got to go up.
“He’s come on a bit. It’s been four weeks between runs and he’s done well, he’s had a jump-out, and we’ve kept him up to the mark.”
Bon Amis, a $4000 buy, has five wins in 12 starts and has earned his Newcastle owners $254,305.
Meanwhile, the stewards inquiry into Ben Smith will not resume Monday after a request for the suspended Newcastle trainer’s solicitor, Paul O’Sullivan, to adjourn the matter was granted.
The Herald reported Wednesday that the inquiry, which started after a raid on Smith’s stables and residence on September 11, was to resume. Chairman of stewards Marc Van Gestel said results from all exhibits taken during the raid had come back.
Four Smith-trained horses, including group 1 winner El Dorado Dreaming, returned swabs with elevated levels of cobalt.
Smith was charged with refusing to give evidence and giving false evidence during the raid, which uncovered unlabelled bottles.
AAP reports: The eighth of December has been an auspicious date for First Light Racing and could be again if two-year-old Baileys can live up to expectations.
Aristia made her debut on the corresponding day last year, finishing third at Moonee Valley before going on to give the Victorian-based syndication company its biggest moment on the track with her group 1 VRC Oaks win during the Melbourne spring carnival.
First Light Racing's Tim Wilson is hoping the date is an equally lucky launch pad for Baileys, a $300,000 Magic Millions buy which will have his first start in the Roadwork Solutions Handicap (1200m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
"Aristia won the Oaks last month and she debuted on the same day over 1000 metres, so it's a great grounding for them," Wilson said.
"I don't think you can win a spring three-year-old feature without having had a two-year-old career because it's the making of these young horses."
A son of Fastnet Rock, the Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young-trained Baileys won a recent barrier trial at Cranbourne, his home track, with Damien Oliver in the saddle.
He ran slightly quicker time than the winner of the following heat, Brooklyn Hustle, who has since come out and scored a brilliant debut win in Melbourne.
If Baileys can handle the trip to Sydney and win on Saturday, he will book his spot in the Magic Millions Classic.
"If he wins on Saturday he goes. It's pretty simple at this time of year that if you qualify for a race like that, it's an opportunity you can't pass up," Wilson said.
Baileys represents a fresh challenge for First Light Racing which focused on buying slower-developing horses when they started out eight years ago because it was all they could afford.
Time and success have allowed them to increase their budget and look at yearlings that can hit the ground running.
"It's a bit of a rite of passage I suppose, you've got to ply your trade with horses that take a bit of time because they're the ones you can afford when you're in the infancy of your career," Wilson said.
"And then if you have success with those horses you get the backing and support to go after the precocious two-year-old types."
Baileys is an $8.50 chance in an opening betting race in which five of the seven runners are at single-figure odds.