Ride High poised for biggest test

Trainer Clayton Tonkin insists this is just the challenge his pacing sensation Ride High needs ahead of the Victoria Cup.

Ride High faces by far his biggest test this campaign from outside the back row over a sprint trip (1720m) in Saturday night’s $50,000 Group 2 Smoken Up Sprint at Melton.

He’s going for his 17th win from just 18 starts.

“I’m actually glad he drew poorly and he’s got to get back in a big field and find a way to overcome it,” Tonkin said.

“If he’s lacking anything it’s experience and I hoped he’d learn through his runs this campaign, but instead they’ve all been easy kills. He’s probably worked harder at home than he has in a lot of those wins.

“I won’t be stressed if he gets beaten this week but learns from the experience. In saying that, I don’t think he’ll get beaten though.”

Tonkin played down talk he’d changed plans by skipping last week’s Minuteman free-for-all and opting to run Ride High just a week out from the Victoria Cup in this week’s Smoken Up.

“To be honest, I almost ran him in all three races, last week, this week and the Victoria Cup,” he said. “Running this week and backing-up seven days later won’t fuss him in the slightest.

“He should get a good, strong hit out this week and it’ll top him off nicely for the big one next week.”

Tonkin wouldn’t buy-in to the tactics driver Kate Gath might employ from the tricky barrier.

“There’s a fair bit of speed on that front line, so I do think they’ll go hard early, but you can’t have any set plans in races like this,” he said.

“He’s really well going into it, it will bring him on that little bit more for the Victoria Cup, but he’s a pretty special horse and they’ll want to be good to beat him.”

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