This will be the most nervous Cessnock trainer Luke Thomas has been since he started training as he tries to get Asudem into the $1.3 million Kosciuszko next month at Randwick.
With the tickets for the big race being drawn on Wednesday it’s the best possible time to showcase a potential Kosciuszko runner and Asudem runs in a Benchmark 72 Handicap (1100m) at Canterbury on Wednesday.
If Asudem can win the race and knock off the likes of Axe, Hulk and Plaquette it will also be the first time Thomas has saddled up a city winner.
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“It is a big day for me. I’ve only had a couple of runners in Sydney and they’ve run well. I only go to town if they’re a chance,” Thomas said.
“He deserves his crack in town and if he lets down like we know he can he’ll be in it up to his ears.
“With the Kosciuszko tickets getting drawn on Wednesday, if he can show up and race well he’ll be in contention.”
Asudem wasn’t asked to do too much in a barrier trial at Gosford and he will be ridden by regular rider Aaron Bullock from gate six.
“His trial was very good and although I’m concerned about the tighter track I think he’ll be fine. He won at Wyong but Aaron said he pretty much had to carry him around the corners,” Thomas said.
“He knows the horse well and has always had a big opinion of him. Aaron’s got beautiful hands and he said a while ago that the horse would go straight through is grades and he wasn’t getting off him and that happened.
“I’d like him to be better than midfield. I know Canterbury can be a bit leader-bias but if they go hard he can slot him behind the speed and he’ll be getting home.”
Asudem really came of age last preparation with a series of wins and placings. It was a 1350m win at Scone which would be telling.
He romped in by 5¼ lengths and the horse in second was Partners, who would go on to win a Highway race at Randwick then win a Benchmark 78 race at Rosehill.
“It was good to see. We certainly beat it well land truly but it’s come back terrific and I hope our bloke has too,” Thomas said. “He broke a 30-year track record the day he beat Partners by nearly six lengths.
“I can’t get him any better for his first-up run so it’s up to him and Aaron now and it’s a blessing having Aaron go down and ride him.”
Even if Asudem wins, Kosciuszko slot holders will look at his second-up record (4:0-0-0) and worry if he’s the horse to run for them.
“He should have won easy second-up last preparation. We had to ride for luck and he was only beaten 1½ lengths when in second gear and climbing all over the heels of the horses in front,” Thomas said.
“He’ll improve again off what he does tomorrow and we could send him for another trial if he gets a run and we’ll have him peaking for the Kosciuszko.”