Cranbourne horseman Stephen Theodore believes he is on the brink of a black-type win with his Lonhro four-year-old Summarise, the former Darley-owned galloper lining up in today’s $150,000 Listed Grafton Cup (2350m).
A winner of six of their 22 career starts to date, Summarise was purchased by new connections to be trained by Theodore at a tried horse sale at the end of the last year.
After displaying their staying credentials to secure a strong win on a heavy Sandown track last-start, Theodore will now give Summarise a shot at stakes glory in today’s Grafton Cup.
Originally raced as a sprinter, Summarise began to come into their own when stepped up to 2052 metres for the first time in January when they won at Morphettville and then again next start over 2100 metres at Sandown.
Looking at the horse’s breeding, it is easy to understand why their connections were at first hesitant to try them over an increased distance.
“Everyone thought I had rocks in my head when I said he’d stay,” Theodore said.
“I think Darley did a great job winning two shorter races with him.”
Theodore credits much of Summarise’s improvement to his method of getting the horses he prepares to swim as part of their work.
“I get a lot of tried horses and the first week I get them I start swimming them and try to learn as much as I can with their breathing,” he said.
“He (Summarise) had a great lung capacity, by the end of the first week he was swimming for 15 minutes and he wouldn’t have blown out a candle.
“I don’t ride my horses (in) work so that’s how I determine whether they’re sprinters or stayers.”
The 2011 Grafton Cup will be Summarise’s second start in a Listed feature, the horse having finished a distant ninth behind Guyno in the Listed Mornington Cup (2400m) back in February.
With Summarise to get the rails run from the inside alley in the 15-horse Grafton Cup field today, Theodore has engaged the services of this year’s Stradbroke Handicap winning jockey Jason Taylor, the gun hoop aboard Sincero for their victory in the $1 million Group 1 Eagle Farm feature last month.
“I had to find a lightweight jockey and given his (Taylor’s) success in the Stradbroke, well there’s nothing better than a jockey with their tail up,” Theodore said.
For their recent Sandown win on June 29, Summarise was ridden by top hoop Damien Oliver at 59kg but will advantage from a big drop back weight for the Grafton Cup carrying the minimum 53kg.
Despite a lengthy 19-hour float trip from Cranbourne to Grafton for today’s feature, Summarise reportedly travelled well and Theodore is confident heading into this afternoon’s showdown.
“He’s my first runner at Grafton,” Theodore said.
“I’ve been to Sydney a few times and Queensland a few times and I guess this is smack, bang in the middle.”
Current Grafton Cup markets are lead by Chris Waller’s Melbourne Cup-bound The Verminator ($3.70) and Gold Coast raider Shuffle The Cash ($4), while Summarise is paying $7.50 to claim an upset.