Two of Alison Smith's most accomplished horses will compete alongside each other in the $31,500 Sheppo's Conditional Benchmark 70 Handicap (1000m) at Kembla Grange on Saturday as Panuara and Absolute Ripper have drawn gates five and six respectively for the 2.05pm tilt.
The distance suits both horses and Smith doesn't expect either of them to struggle after the trip down to Kembla but a factor that must be mentioned is the surface.
The turf at Kembla has been graded as a heavy 10 which in Layman's terms is like running in the mud. Does this change the dynamic of the race? You bet.
According to Smith, Panuara should be able to swim through the conditions and the gelding has the form guide to back up those claims as he ran a winning race on the heavy 8 at Dubbo back in February.
"He'll get through the going pretty well," Smith said.
"I just want him to put his best foot forward and get back to his early form. I'm pretty confident I've got him where he needs to be.
"He should run on OK... the travelling shouldn't worry either of them too much."
The seven-year-old gelding has gone a month without a race and Saturday's event will be his fifth this preparation. His last two results have been a sixth and a ninth-placed finish at Dubbo and Orange respectively.
Absolute Ripper's another horses who's looking to buck a losing trend and while her form guide is a decorated one, the seven-win resume is missing one thing... a win on a heavy track.
And while Smith's always confident in the horses she's training, she knows the seven-year-old mare will have a tough time in the wet.
"It's most probably not ideal," she said.
"He had a go on the heavy at Dubbo but he can't afford to miss the race because it's too hard to find another one.
"It's been four-five weeks between runs for her and her weight can get away from her if she's out of action for too long. This is a 17-day turnaround so it should suit her better if she can handle the trip down and the track."
Anthony Cavallo will saddle up on Absolute Ripper while Adrian Layt will ride Panuara. The race jumps at 2.05pm.
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