Jockey Shaun McGruddy has made a strong case for Great Southern galloper Jobeth in the Westspeed Stayers’ Handicap (2000m) at Belmont Park on Saturday.
The Johannesburg mare, prepared by Steve Wolfe, is on the quick turnaround after being placed sixth to Doubtable over 1600m last week.
At her third start this preparation after taking out the Albany and Narrogin Cup double earlier this year, Jobeth was doing her best work late over the concluding stages.
“I thought she got home very well after being back in the field,” said McGruddy.
“I’m really looking forward to her stepping up to 20000m.
“This is her right distance and with a couple of runs under her belt she is fit and very well.”
McGruddy rode Lee Rani into third position behind Right Time when the Kendel Star mare made her return to the race track last Saturday week.
Importantly for McGruddy and trainer Peter Finger, Lee Rani has copped another favourable draw and will jump from five in the Peter Rudland Diamond Jubilee Handicap (1000m).
“She went first up without a trial and I’m expecting her to have come on,” said McGruddy.
“One would think she would be very hard to beat.”
McGruddy has picked up the mount on comeback galloper Hallowell Express who is warming to his task again after a two-year layoff.
The Tiger Hill gelding, with three runs under his belt, is working to full fitness and impressed last time out with a solid finish for Paul Harvey.
Hallowell Express was in the back half of the field before running on from near eighth on the turn to finish fourth and 2 ½ lengths from Iseethingsyoudon’t when racing over 1300m.
Hallowell Express, to jump from barrier two in the field of 14, will line up in the Sweetcorn Cup (1650m).
“The step up in distance will really suit him,” said McGruddy.
“His last couple of runs have been pretty good and he has just finished behind them.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he finished in the first three.”
McGruddy kicked off Wednesday’s opening meeting of the 2012-13 season in fine style after guiding Roses Of Omar to a first time win for trainer Andrew Dickson.
McGruddy rode 38 city winners last season including the Group 2 Karrakatta Plate and Group 3 Sires Produces Stakes with Luke’s Luck.