For David Smith and Bezel, Sunday’s Cotton Cup at Warren is just another step on the road to the “grand final”.
The classy Bezel is working towards the $125,000 Country Classic at Rosehill later this month and while that is the main target, Smith heads to Warren in a confident mood.
Bezel is one of two hopes the Mudgee trainer has in Sunday’s $32,000 feature, the other being Distinctive Look.
Smith’s two hopes are the two top weights in the event, which headlines a strong seven-race meeting at Warren and District Jockey Club.
Bezel was handed a huge 64.5kg for the event and he remains the top weight despite the 3kg claim of promising apprentice Reece Jones.
The five-year-old is second up this preparation.
“He’s working towards the Country Classic at Rosehill. That’s his grand final this preparation,” Smith said of Bezel.
“I think he’s definitely up to the mile (at Warren) and he’s got a good record over the distance. It’s a massive drop in grade and he’s up in weight but we’ve got the kid (Jones) on.
“He went out at Dubbo (in June) and took care of them and I don’t think the Cotton Cup is much stronger that that.”
Smith expects one of Bezel’s biggest threats to come from his stablemate, a horse who is just working himself back into form.
Bad luck has been the story of Distinctive Look’s career, according to Smith. The now six-year-old hasn’t tasted success since winning a Country Championships qualifier at Wellington in March of last year and the trainer said this preparation has been all about getting Distinctive Look comfortable on the track again.
“We’ve just been hoping to get his head right and get him racing and get him competitive,” Smith said.
“We might send him to the Country Classic as well but he’s not like Bezel who has just been working towards that.”
Despite Smith’s optimism, Distinctive Look was a $8.50 chance on Friday afternoon while Bezel was at $5.50, the same price as the Gayna Williams-trained Dapperized.
The $3.50 favourite at that time was Hammoon Bridge from the Dubbo stables of Clint Lundholm while Sea Lady was second on the line of betting at $4.20.
The Brett Thompson-trained Sea Lady won the Coonabarabran Cup last start, edging out Hammoon Bride that day.
Hamoon Bridge will carry 4.5kg less on Sunday than he did that day.
Boosting Smith’s hopes is the knowledge both his hopes have beaten Dapperized in the past.
The Mudgee trainer also has The Scotsman racing in the Complete Asset Management Benchmark 58 Handicap (1400m).
Smith admits the lightly-raced four-year-old is still finding his way in the racing game but there’s been plenty for trainer to like in the build-up to Sunday’s meeting.
“He’s really improved from from his win at Mudgee last start,” Smith said.
“He’s gone right on and thinks he’s a real race horse now. He hasn’t taken a step backwards.
“He’ll bowl on and should prove hard to get past.”
Racing starts at 151pm on Sunday and the Cotton Cup is race six at 4.46pm.