Despite their only average lead-up form, Grey Assignment is in his trainer Brian Smith’s eyes spot on for their Ipswich Cup 2014 start on Saturday.
There are 15 remaining in the field for this year’s $175,000 Listed Channel 7 Ipswich Cup (2150m) following the withdrawal of the Peter Moody-trained Full Of Spirit who runs in the last in Sydney on Saturday instead.
Heading the Ipswich Cup odds at $5.50 is Gerald Ryan’s market mover Ironstein, the 58kg top weight out to improve on a last start fourth over 1800m at Rosehill.
Also looking to improve on an unplaced run last time out is the Brisbane-based Refuse To Bend seven-year-old Grey Assignment.
The veteran 47-start galloper ran a luckless 10th behind Aldini in the Listed Spear Chief Handicap (1500m) at Eagle Farm on May 31 carrying 57.5kg.
Before that they were a credible sixth behind subsequent Doomben Cup winning mare Streama in the Group 2 A.D. Hollindale Stakes (1800m) with 59kg on their back.
Smith then his hoping a drop back to 56.5kg and a nice barrier four draw for the Ipswich Cup will help Grey Assignment finish off better when stepped up in distance.
“Very happy with him,” Cassidy told The Queensland Times.
“He hasn’t had much luck this year and he ran a good race at the Gold Coast – he ran sixth behind those good horses and then he got caught up in the barriers the next start.”
They haven’t raced over further than 1800m this preparation, their first for Smith who took over training of the grey from Kelso Wood at the start of the year.
The horse does have winning form up to 2200m from previous years however and will benefit from top jockey Larry Cassidy staying on for their weekend run.
Cassidy has ridden them for their past three runs and is happy with the track work from Grey Assignment over the past two weeks.
“Larry and I are happy with the way he’s going into the race,” Smith added.
Cassidy is also a dual Ipswich Cup winning rider having taken out the feature with Portland Singa (2004) and Our Lukas for their first of back-to-back wins in 2009.
Along with Cassidy in the saddle, the drop back and weight and good draw the other major advantage on Saturday is their affinity for the Ipswich track.
Grey Assignment has had three runs for two wins and a second at Ipswich, the last of which was a win over the mile two years back.
Ipswich Cup betting markets have Grey Assignment paying around $13 to win.
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