Braidwood galloper Testator Silens will run in Saturday’s $2 million The Kosciuszko at Royal Randwick.
Initially drawn as an emergency in the country-only feature sprint, the Luke Clarke-trained five-year-old got the call up after one-time race favourite It’s Me (Brett Cavanough) was scratched from the event on Friday morning.
Clarke didn’t know It’s Me had been scratched until a slot holder representative from Glen Innes and District Services Club syndicate Grand Syndicates decided to call him and select his talented gelding.
“I was just having lunch and the phone rang, and it was the slot holder and he said to me that It’s Me is out and he asked me how our horse was going,” Clarke said.
“I said the horse won’t let you down. He is ready to go and we were always treating it as if we were going to be racing.”
Clarke conceded that he would have preferred Testator Silens to be going into the race second-up, but he was still confident his galloper would put his best hoof forward.
“He is as good as I can have him without a run under his belt,” Clarke said.
“He trialled brilliantly with Winona on him the other day at Goulburn, and a run under his belt would have been beneficial to have him rock solid fit, but he has had two jump-outs and two trials, so he is fit, and he has a good foundation under him.”
Winona Costin takes the ride, and from gate 5, Clarke believes Testator Silens will get a rare chance at a softer run.
“In a lot of the Highways, he has been drawn wide and had to race wide or go back, but from barrier five, he should jump, and he should have enough speed to be fourth or fifth,” Clarke said.
Following the scratching of It’s Me, Testator Silens’ price with bookmakers was rolled in to $34, while Clarke spruiked that he had managed to get much higher odds.
“We got 100s last night,” Clarke laughed.
“I said to the Mrs to put some money on him because if he didn’t get a run, we get our money back, but now we have got a good price about him.”
Clarke and connections will have to wait until 2.50pm on Saturday to see if they can cash in on the big price, with The Kosciuszko scheduled as race five on Royal Randwick’s high TAB Everest program.
As suggested by NSW Country and Picnic Racing Editor Jeff Hanson on Thursday, Testator Silens was unlucky not to be picked up by a slot holder in the first place, with the Star Witness gelding no slouch on the race track.
Having started seven times, Testator Silens has won on five occasions, winning on debut at Moruya over 1010m late last year before a second-up win at Wagga in a 1000m Class One.
Following an unlucky third in a 1200m TAB Highway Handicap at Rosehill in November, he strung three wins together, winning back-to-back TAB Highways, firstly at Rosehill in a 1200m Class Two in November before returning from a spell in February, again winning over 1200m in a Class Three at Royal Randwick.
Stepping up to 1400m, Testator Silens then did it the tough way from gate 13 to win the South East Country Championships qualifier at Nowra in February before running a game seventh in the $500,000 Country Championships final to Another One when beaten seven lengths after a torrid run from gate 13.
The Kosciuszko is a step-up in class, and yes it would have been good to see him with a run under his belt, but the Braidwood galloper is as tough as nails and never gives up and if he enjoys a good run from gate five, and if there is some good pace in the race, he will be coming at them in the final half-furlong.