Orange trainer Michael Plummer admitted the returning Captain Byblos is in need of a run or two after more than a year away from the track, but he also said he’s intrigued to see how the gelding fares at Towac Park on Tuesday after some encouraging lead-up work.
With apprentice Katie Jenkinson on board the seven-year-old, which Plummer jokingly described as “a bit of a maniac”, is lining up in the second of Racing Orange’s Thoroughbred Tuesday TAB-meeting, the 1000-metre Maiden Handicap.
It’ll be his third career start and his first in 377 days, Captain Byblos’ last run was an 11th finish, of 12, at Narromine on July 18, 2016.
He ran 12th of 14 a week prior to that at Mudgee, a first-up run after a 56-week spell following a trial second.
“He’s been out the Pilliga-way, chasing yowies,” Plummer laughed.
“Katie’s parents live out that way and we sent him out there to chase some cattle, do some work and get his head right a bit, because he was a bit of a maniac. If he didn’t get good work in he’d act up in the stables and that sort of thing.
“He does need a run, in fact I think he needs three or four but his work has been a lot better than the last time around so I’m interested to see how he goes [on Tuesday].”
A big help will be Captain Byblos’ mid-weight, he’ll carry 57kg on Tuesday afternoon. But, Plummer also suggested the gelding might be more suited to a longer journey than the kilometre.
“I’m not sure this is really his distance, I think he’s more of a 1,400 runner and we might even try to push him out to a mile, but we’ll see how he goes,” Plummer said.
Based on all that, it’s tough to predict the seven-year-old as a genuine chance in a pretty handy maiden field.
Don and Andrew Ryan’s Ave will carry the top weight of 59kg, along with Danny Parsons’ Ridgi Ridge and Marc Connors’ Skaldak.
Ave and Ridgi Ridge are first-up from six-month breaks but showed solid form prior to that, while it’s the latter’s maiden run after several good trial efforts either side of shorter spells.
Gary Portelli’s Radetzky looks the goods after running second at Towac Park last-start, while central west trainers Clint Lundholm and Gayna Williams’ runners also look solid.
Dubbo’s Lundholm has Honestly Iz turning out in her first run while Dollar Thief has looked a likely winner for Mudgee’s Williams for some time, she comes in on the back of an eighth over 1100 at Wellington where she fell away badly in the straight.
The Maiden Handicap jumps at 3.25pm.
Formerly based out of Towac Park, Warwick Farm’s Portelli continues his strong support of Racing Orange, he’s bringing four other runners outside Radetzky.
Moccasin Miss and Cash Strapped both look to be genuine shows for the $20,000 Benchmark 64 Handicap, a red-hot field including last-start winners Blinkin Rockin – from Lundholm’s stable – and Tinmine.
In the Maiden Plate (1,280m), Bringagem will carry the equal top weight of 59kg, while Buffy will carry the least as he looks to build on his maiden run, a third finish at Muswellbrook.
Racing starts at 2.10pm at Towac Park.