FORMER Mudgee trainer Tracey Bartley is tipping a last to first form reversal for talented mare San Zaim who aims for back to back wins in today's $25,000 Robert Oatley Mudgee Cup (1600m).
On paper, the five-year-old's form lines look awful - a first up seventh of eight to Classics over 1350m at Rosehill on November 3 and a last start 6.7 lengths last of nine to Sastruga over 1500m at the same track on November 24.
Bartley insists his opinion is not blind faith over San Zaim.
"If she's right and I think she's spot on, she should go there and just win," Bartley, based at Wyong for 18 months, said.
"She came back from a spell fatter than she ever has.
"First up she hadn't trialled and she sat four deep and they simply out sprinted her. The run wasn't as bad as it looked.
"She went awful the other day (November 24). I just think she bludged on the kid (Shaun Guymer). She fell out of the gates and was never in it."
After the most recent Rosehill run, Bartley had the mare checked thoroughly.
"The chiropractor found she was a little sore over the back but that's been righted. Her blood was great.
"I've been riding her work myself. She feels great.
"She flew the other day and worked great on Saturday. They don't work any better than she has.
"I've just given her three-quarter pace since. I think she's spot on."
San Zaim is part owned by Mudgee taxi driver Ken Byrnes and local mayor, Des Kennedy.
The mare has recorded seven wins and six placing's from 23 starts and has excellent stats over the 1600m.
Bartley revealed an ownership dispute nearly resulted in him losing the mare.
"Some of the owners weren't happy we only got five runs out of her last campaign and they wanted to take her off me," he said. "Geez, she won twice at Rosehill.
"I own part of her (via his wife Tracey Quinn) and I didn't want to part with her. We bought the whingers out."
Apart from San Zaim winning last year, Slick Sniper finished third in the same event in 2009.
"Hopefully San Zaim can provide a nice return to my former home," Bartley added.