Progressive local colt Better Than Ready is ready to face the BTC Cup quinella of Your Song and Rain Affair once again after their third behind them earlier in the month when the trio face off in the 2013 Doomben 10,000 this Saturday.
Kelly Schweida’s More Than Ready three-year-old Better Than Ready has enjoyed two stakes wins from their past four starts and was far from disgraced when third in the Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) in the mud at Eagle Farm on May 11.
This weekend they will face their last start conquerors in another Group 1, the lucrative $650,000 Carlton Mid Doomben 10,000 (1350m) and with a firmer track, more ground (their first over further than 1200m) and notable improvement since their last start Schweida is hoping there’s an upset on the cards with cup form hard to assess because of the Heavy-rated course.
“Even some of the renowned wet trackers weren’t handling it,” Schweida said.
“The Doomben 10,000 is a much stronger race on paper than the BTC Cup.”
While admitting that their grand final goal this winter was the $1.36 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) on June 8 where his horse should benefit from the handicap conditions, Schweida was sure Better Than Ready had about two lengths improvement in them for this weekend from last start.
“He was a bit big the other day, with not having a run for three weeks and being a colt,” he said.
“He had a good blow after the race and the goal is to have him 110 per cent ready on Stradbroke Day, but he is getting fitter and he has definitely got a couple of lengths in condition.
In the current Doomben 10,000 odds at the Aussie bookmakers Anthony Cummings’ Sydney-based BTC Cup winner Your Song is top of the markets.
They are followed by the likes of the Rob Heathcote-trained Buffering, BTC Cup runner-up Rain Affair and Peter Snowden’s Golden Rose champ Epaulette.
Following this top four is then Better Than Ready at double figures sitting just ahead of the defending champ Sea Siren who was disappointing when eighth during her attempt at back-to-back BTC Cups last start.
Schweida admitted that Your Song was still the benchmark horse and also rated the form around Commands colt Epaulette who ran a first-up second to Black Caviar in the TJ Smith Stakes before their last start sixth to All Too Hard in the All Aged Stakes over 1400m at Randwick on April 27.
“Your Song is the benchmark, but Epaulette has got really good form,” he said.
“He brings another dimension to the race and then you’ve got a lot of good horses like Rangirangdoo as well.
“Your Song was very impressive the other day and if he is as good on the dry as he was on the wet, then we could be in a bit of trouble.
“But his three wins have come on heavy or slow tracks to date.
“Also I don’t think the pattern of the day really suited Better Than Ready last start.
“He was last at one stage and I didn’t think many of the backmarkers were making much ground on the day.”
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