Trainer Trevor Andrews is banking on a hot speed to offset The River’s wide draw in the $100,000 TABtouch Bunbury 3YO Classic (1000m) tomorrow.
The River, a brilliant winner of the Magic Millions WA 2YO Classic (1200m) and Perth Stakes (1100m), must overcome barrier 10 and the topweight of 59kg tomorrow.
Andrews said the draw would probably force jockey Shaun McGruddy to settle the brilliant three-year-old in the back half of the field.
But the race could be run to suit backmarkers, with speedsters Atacama Sky, Swift Platinum, Lord Devoutly and Gee Boss engaged.
“He’s got the job ahead of him with the weight and poor draw,” Andrews said. “He’ll have to be ridden quietly and ridden for luck. That’s all we can do.
“There’s a lot of speed in the race and if it’s run to suit I’m sure he’ll run well.”
The River impressed Andrews with his trial win at Belmont Park last Monday week.
He beat King River by just under a length under little pressure from McGruddy. The Magnus gelding is rated a $5.50 chance with the TAB. Saul’s Special is the $3.70 favourite.
The River could also start on a rain-affected track for the first time.
Bunbury could be hit by heavy showers tomorrow, with most of the rain predicted to hit in the morning. There were also showers yesterday and a shower or two is forecast today.
Stewards are monitoring the situation closely.
“Local steward Steve Jerrard said the track was OK after a bit of rain (yesterday),” Racing and Wagering WA chief steward Brad Lewis said.
“It all depends on how much rain comes. An inspection will take place Saturday morning if needed. As part of our policy we try to make a call on race meetings by about 8am to get the information out to participants, but it is dependent on circumstances.”