Black and Bent will step out over the jumps for the first time in over a year on Saturday, and to make matters worse he will be forced to carry a whopping 73.5 kg.
Trainer Robert Smerdon confirmed that Black and Bent would be entered in the Leslie Short Hurdle at Morphetville on Saturday before being aimed at the Kevin Lafferty Hurdle at Warnambool and the Grand National Hurdle at Sandown in August.
Because he has had so long without a race over the jumps, Smerdon has decided to give the horse one run before heading to the feature races. The only problem was that there were not many jumps races suitable for Black and Bent that would give him time to recover for the Warnambool race.
Having won the Australian Hurdle, the Galleywood and the Lachal Hurdles, Smerdon always knew it would be hard to get Black and Bent into a handicap race.
“We had a talk about it and figured he’d get about that (73.5kg),” Smerdon said.
“It’s a big weight but this has been in our plans for a while. We’re aiming at the hurdle at Warnambool but getting there in what is likely to be heavy ground at his first run back over the jumps would be a big ask.
“We wanted him to have another go at it before getting there so he’s heading to Adelaide and he’ll be doing his best.”
Following his win in the Australian Hurdle last year, Smerdon decided to give Black and Bent a break from jumps racing, and he was rewarded when the horse won the Banjo Patterson Series final at Flemington.
“Michael Rodd commented after his Flemington win he’s one of the best horses he has ridden endeavour wise,” Smerdon said.
“He’s such a trier. He ran above his fitness at Flemington and has improved again and will improve again after this Saturday. Like his brother Some are Bent, he is remarkably tough and just continues to race well.”
Black and Bent has now won 13 races, just one short of his illustrious brother, who was retired last year with 14 wins on the board.
Smerdon said that is Black and Bent could come through this campaign well then he would aim the horse at some of the richer hurdle races in Japan in December.