Epic is at the pointy end of a testing career and his Brisbane-based trainer Kelly Schweida is hoping for a late Black-Type win in Doomben’s 2015 Tattersall’s Mile this weekend before the veteran’s pending retirement.
Injury and setbacks have plagued the career of Stratum seven-year-old Epic who has had 38 starts for nine wins, seven seconds and three thirds.
The gutsy and always honest gelding hasn’t won a race since a victory over the Doomben mile, which he sees again on Saturday, back in September last year.
He has never disappointed Schweida however who still pinches himself the galloper has been able to achieve what he has after suffering from a bowed tendon near the start of his career and a separate incident that saw him miss 12 months of racing back in 2013-14.
“He is a tough old bugger. He bowed a tendon early in his career and then he got badly galloped on in the 2013 Lord Mayor’s Cup and missed a year’s racing,” Schweida told AAP this week.
“The fact he has won nine races and more than $360,000 in prizemoney is a testament to his toughness.”
“In his 38 starts he has put in only two poor runs and one of those was at his last start at the Sunshine Coast.”
That run on July 4 followed a string of good runs in Black-Type company during the Queensland Winter Racing Carnival and saw Epic cross over six lengths away sixth to beat home just one other runner in the $65,000 Troy Trevitt Homes Open Handicap (1600m).
The race was won by the Tony Gollan-trained Trakstar who carried 54kg to victory and races again in Saturday’s $100,000 Listed Tattersall’s Mile Handicap (1640m) going up to just 54.5kg.
Epic contests the same race and gets the rails run from barrier one with Tegan Harrison booked for the ride on 57kg, half a kilo less than he and jockey Glen Colless had for the Sunshine Coast failure on an unsuitable track.
“The track was sticky and that didn’t seem to suit him. He couldn’t pick up and sprint with the others. It was most unlike him and I think Doomben will suit him better,” Schweida explained.
Epic has had 20 previous runs at Doomben for six wins, four seconds and three thirds, the latest of which was when beaten only three quarters of a length to cross third behind Strawberry Boy in the Listed Wayne Wilson Handicap (1600m) back on June 6.
That followed a brave fourth to the same horse over the same track and distance in the Group 3 Lord Mayor’s Cup in late May.
Leading into the Sunshine Coast race Epic was fourth to Addictive Habit in the Listed Southbank Handicap (1800m) on the Gold Coast, and it is this consistency and tenacity that Schweida admires in his galloper.
“He has a 50 per cent place strike rate and a 23 per cent win strike rate but Epic has a swag of races where he has been in the fourth to fifth placings after having no luck,” he said.
With five wins from 10 starts over the 1600m at Doomben, Epic is looking to finally break his Black-Type duck, a deserving feat according to his patient and admiring trainer.
“He has been stakes-placed three times but he deserves to be a black type winner,” Schweida said.
“He isn’t getting any younger and while he will race on after Saturday it is getting close to his last chance to win one.”
Other notable Tattersall’s Mile hopes this weekend include the Brian Smith-trained 58.5kg top weight Jetset Lad and runner-up to Trakstar last time out Little Brown Horse drawn well in barriers two and four respectively.
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