Sergeant to do battle over greater distance

SINCE coming back from a 22-week spell in October, Sergeant Bilko has been in impressive form.

The Fubu x Darnily gelding has recorded seven placed-finishes from his past nine races including two wins.

The only times Sergeant Bilko missed out on the podium, he came in fourth on both occasions.

But those results were over distances between 1100 metres and 1600m.

On Sunday at Mudgee, the Narromine-trained galloper steps up to the 2000m distance - Mudgee Vet Hosptial Benchmark 61 Handicap.

It is the first time in his 12-race career he will take on the 2 kilometre mark.

"He is stepping up in class for Sunday," trainer Lindsey Kennedy said. "He has been racing a little bit in the lower grade but Greg Ryan suggested I should put him up further."

As to what Sergeant Bilko will produce, Kennedy is unsure. However, he believes the four-year-old will run the distance.

"He is race fit. Two starts ago he won over 1600 metres at Mudgee. That was his first tilt at that distance.

"But I think the grade of horses [in Sunday's race] are very good."

To get win number three from 10 starts, Sergeant Bilko must overcome Private Taber and Brooklyn Lad - both accomplished horses over this distance.

Private Taber, trained at Dubbo by Peter Nestor, is coming off a win over this distance at this very track two weeks ago.

He had his nephew Kody on board and on Sunday, the pair team up again.

"Peter Nestor's horse is the one to beat," Kennedy said.

Kennedy will take some comfort knowing he has arguably the best jockey in country NSW Greg Ryan on board.

"I will leave a lot of it up to Greg, he knows what he is doing. He is a very good jockey."

The seven-race program gets under way at 2pm with the running of The Butcher Shop Cafe 2YO Maiden Plate over 1100m.

For local interest, Brett Thompson is the only trainer from the Mudgee district featuring in the opening race. It will be Iwilldoit's first run.

Gulgong's James Thompson is the only other local trainer to have a galloper in action.

Goo Goo will run in the Mudgee Florist Class 1 and Maiden Plate (1600m).

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