Northam chasing Big Dance spot with High Court at Wellington Cup meeting

Trainer Rod Northam is confident he has consistent gelding High Court racing in the kind of touch that can earn him a spot in the Big Dance by winning today’s $100,000 Keirle’s Pharmacy Wellington Cup (1700m).

But as convinced as the Scone trainer is about the seven-year-old’s form he’s wary that around the tight Wellington track High Court can’t afford to concede the kind of start he did in his last start second at Eagle Farm three weeks ago.

Scone trainer Rod Northam.Credit:Bradleys

That’s despite the fact he actually hit the front at the 200m in the 1820m open handicap – but he did it after making a dash around them from last before the 600m mark.

Northam knows that top weight and favourite For Valour will look to lead from a wide gate and hopes jockey Grant Buckley can make some use of drawing just inside him.

“We’ll probably ride him a little more positive, we had to go back from the wide gate with the long straight at Eagle Farm, hopefully, we can posie up midfield or a little bit closer,” Northam said.

“Ash [Morgan] said to me afterwards he got to the front too soon, he probably should have waited. He came off the winner’s back and went around it then he came around him again and beat him. I was very happy with him, it was a good run. Hopefully, he can reproduce something like that.

“In the Coonabarabran Cup, we sat third or fourth on the fence so if we could be there that’d be good. Grant knows the horse and the track, so he can figure it out.”

High Court earned eligibility for the $2 million Big Dance (1600m) run at Randwick on November 7 with his second placing at Coonabarabran but that doesn’t guarantee him a start, with winners of eligible races going to the top of the ballot.

So as it stands he’s more likely to be in the field for the $500,000 Little Dance on the same day.

A win at Wellington will improve his position in the ballot order then it’s up to the horse to maintain or increase his benchmark rating in order to make the final field.

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