Kelly Schweida’s Brisbane galloper Epic has earned a possible shot at the Cameron Handicap 2014 in Newcastle this Sydney Spring Racing Carnival after a win at Doomben over the weekend.
Posting their second victory from four starts this year on the back of a 12 month, injury-enforced spell the Stratum six-year-old enjoyed a step up to a mile to win the $45,000 The Bottole-O Open Handicap (1630m) on Saturday.
Epic was ridden to perfection by apprentice hoop Anthony Allen, who earlier in the day won on Schweida’s smart mare Discreet, to put one and a quarter lengths on the Brian Smith-trained Billy Aucash ($8).
“The kid give him a good ride today,” Schwedia said post-win of Allen’s ride.
After saluting as the $4.20 favourite, Epic could now be tested against better company during a southern spring carnival raid.
Schweida is eyeing a shot at the $125,000 Group 3 Cameron Handicap (1500m) at Newcastle Racecourse on September 17 during the Newcastle Gold Cup Carnival for his rising seven-year-old.
Epic is only lightly raced for their age having had 26 starts for the seven wins now with injury setbacks plaguing their career.
Their trainer then is hoping the worst is behind them and they can secure a late black-type win.
Their last start in stakes company was in May last year when third behind subsequent Group 1 Toorak Handicap winner Solzehnitsyn in the Group 3 Lord Mayor’s Cup (1600m) at Doomben on the back of a hat-trick of autumn wins.
It is that form Schweida is hoping his ageing grey can repeat when they are again stepped up in class this coming Sydney Spring Racing Carnival.
“Last time in work he ran third to Solzhenitsyn who is a Group 1 horse and he got galloped on that day,” Schweida told The Courier Mail on Saturday.
“He won three in a row in his last campaign and I just hope he can keep going.”
After starting their career in Sydney for Greg Bennett, Epic has only been tested outside of Queensland once since joining Schweida’s Brisbane stables at the end of 2010.
That run, like the Cameron Handicap, was at a country meet with the galloper finished a credible fifth beaten only one and a half lengths by St Augstine over 1300m at Scone in May 2011.
Schweida though believes they can be competitive in Sydney this coming season and is keen to keep them at their pet distance of a mile despite knowing they’d likely cover more ground if asked.
“He has had a few injuries in his time but we have been patient,” he said.
“A mile is his go I am pretty sure, even though he would probably get out to 1800m – 2000m.”
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