Bob Building Towards Country Classic Berth
AN introductory middle distance showing at Dapto will decide whether August Bob tackles the Country Classic (605m) series at Dubbo.
AN introductory middle distance showing at Dapto on Thursday night will decide whether gun sprinter August Bob tackles the Ladbrokes sponsored Country Classic (605m) series at Dubbo.
The world's richest middle distance race, which boasts total prize money of $282,000, gets underway on February 25 before culminating in the rich finale at the central west circuit on March 16.
Winner at 10 of his 21 appearances, including recent back-to-back winning performances at Wentworth Park in 29.68 and 29.65, August Bob looks every bit a 600 metre chaser in waiting.
And it will be his debut 600 metre hit-out at Dapto on Thursday night which decides whether trainer Steve Fitch sets his sights on the rich Dubbo feature with his high flying chaser.
"If he does what I hope and expect and comes out and runs low 34s then I'll give him a crack at the Dapto qualifier (of the Country Classic) in a couple of weeks," Fitch said.
"But it will Dapto or nothing for him. Nowra has a qualifier but the 630m and long run into the catching pen is too much to ask from him at this stage.
"I'll know more about what direction I'm heading after Thursday night."
A Dapto winner over the 520-metre journey in a flying 29.61, August Bob, a son of former Melbourne Cup winner My Redeemer, excels at the south coast venue.
And despite drawing box five, Fitch is confident his National Derby finalist can maintain his winning run, albeit against two in form opponents, Guernsey King (box 4), a recent kennel acquisition for Mark Gatt and Balmerino (box 6), winner of his past three at Richmond for Brian Tame.
"A few people were surprised I stepped him up to 600m but I know the dog better than anyone," Fitch said.
"At Wentworth Park he's been running home in 11.60-70 which tells me he'll run the 600 on his ear.
"But even if we don't go to the Country Classic I think the 600m hit-out will do him plenty of good and really tighten him up fitness wise. I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do."
If Fitch does descend on Dubbo for the Country Classic it'll be something of a homecoming for the now Nowra-based trainer having hailed from the region as a youngster.