Kosciuszko contender emerges at Tamworth

The Luke Thomas trained Superior Witness is shaping as a Kosciuszko dark horse, firming in from 100/1 to 34/1 after a dominant win at Tamworth on Monday. Photo: Trackside Photography.

Many racing pundits had labelled Monday’s Tamworth Rush as a talent-laden 1200m Open Handicap that was a potential Kosciuszko preview for many Hunter and North West gallopers. 

In the lead up to the drama-fuelled event, the highly touted pair of Dubai Tycoon and Edit were both late scratchings, while fancied runner Cassy’s Sister missed the kick by 10 lengths before flashing home and finishing third. 

With everything happening prior to the start, racing fans could be forgiven for bypassing the excellent run of eventual winner, Superior Witness.

The four-year-old sprung out from the gates to lead easily for Jake Pracey-Holmes before running out a strong 1200m and winning by more than four lengths from Gold Bracelet and Cassy’s Sister in second and third respectively.

Trainer Luke Thomas was ecstatic with the run, and he believed his Star Witness gelding would only improve after his first go at 1200m.

“When you watch the replay, he got a little bit unbalanced there but in the last 50 metres, he was going again and Jake (Pracey-Holmes) said it took him a while to pull him up after the winning post,” Thomas said. 

“He handled it with no issues and was running around his paddock today; it didn’t hurt him at all and even before the race yesterday, he had hair falling off him as we brushed him, so he still has plenty of improvement.”

The four-year-old has progressed through the grades nicely, registering five wins from 11 starts, and now that he is proven at the higher class and over the six furlongs, he is understandably generating interest ahead of The Kosciuszko, with punters backing him in from 100/1 to 34/1 after his Tamworth victory.

“He looks the perfect horse. He has won five from 11 with two good seconds, he has won on good tracks and heavy tracks,” Thomas said.

“He puts himself on speed where he is going to stay out of trouble, and he is hard to run down.

“Now he has ticked the 1200m box off, plus he has been to Randwick and handled that well and he is clean winded; he is going to give them a good sight out in front.”

The Glendon Brook based trainer, who also does a lot of his work ay Cessnock, said he could only dream of getting Superior Witness into the $1.3 million race scheduled to be held at Royal Randwick on October 16, although he conceded a smaller stable like his was disadvantaged to some degree.

“I’m not one of those big talking trainers who does all these interviews,” Thomas laughed. 

“I more let the horses do the talking but it’s a shame, because I think his horse could handle that next step up if given the chance.”

Still, Thomas has all the luxuries afforded to him to get his galloper just right, with a sand track, uphill galloper, a swimming pool, walker, plenty of bush trails and even beach work available to Superior Witness during his Kosciuszko campaign.

Now, the country trainer and his connections will likely take their talented sprinter to town next start, in what will be one final audition for The Kosciuszko.

Superior Witness. Photo: Trackside Photography.

“I haven’t had a chance to have a good look at the dates yet. They draw the (Kosciuszko) tickets from next week and he wouldn’t race for a couple of weeks anyway,” Thomas said.  

“It is six weeks until The Kosciuszko, so he will definitely have a run or a trial, and if he got picked up pretty quick, we could tailor the next few weeks to suit him.

“If not, we might have to take him to town, but we will keep our options open.”