Maddie Raymond is hoping her run of career training firsts supplied by her stayer Wentwood will continue in the Bagot Handicap at Flemington on New Year’s Day.
Wentwood, has at his last two starts given Raymond, who has been training for less than a year, her first country Cup when he won the Werribee Cup and then her first Flemington winner at his last start.
And if he won the Group Three Bagot Handicap (2800m) on Friday it will be her first Group winner.
Raymond said that she galloped Wentwood on Monday at Warrnambool before committing to running on Friday and she was thrilled with what she saw.
“My partner Paddy Bell, rode him, and said it was the best bit of work he had done. He looks great and was really strong in the gallop,” Raymond said,
Raymond said going into Wentwood’s last start she had a little query over whether he could run out 2600 metres due to doubts on whether he could settle.
“Damian (Lane) got him into a nice rhythm and he was was happy and settled. That will be the key again and Johnny (Allen), who is a great jockey will have to work his magic,” Raymond said.
Allen is replacing Lane, who has won on Wentwood at his last two starts, as he has returned to Perth for a summer break for a fortnight.
“Johnny has ridden him before but he wasn’t going well. He seems to be growing in confidence and improving all the time,” she said.
Raymond said she was keeping an eye on acceptances and Wentwood will end up top-weight.
“It’s not going to be a high ratings race so it’s not going to be overly strong,” she said.
“In his present form he looks well placed in it but we’ve got to see what happens with the barrier draw,” she said.
At his last start, Wentwood ran down the smart staying mare Princess Jenni to win at Flemington which Raymond said was strong form for this.
Raymond said if Wentwood ran well she would look at taking him to Tasmania for the Hobart and Launceston Cups in February.