24 May 2017 | Michael Howard
Guaranteed wins the 2014 Kilmore Cup for driver Gavin Lang.
Fingers and toes will be crossed again this Saturday night when juvenile champion Guaranteed is rebooted for another career tilt.
Part-owner Mark Thompson is among those hopeful the seven-year-old can show that old fire in the Golden Reign Free For All at Tabcorp Park Melton.
“As a two and three-year-old it was a great ride, and the highlight of his career was the Chariots Of Fire when he was three wide and still won,” Mr Thompson said. “Then he broke down and since then we’ve hoped we could get him back to his former glory.”
A series of stuttering campaigns have followed the four-time Group 1 winner since his long lay-off owing to a 2015 suspensory injury.
This Saturday night’s Golden Reign Free For All marks his second run in relatively quick succession after running fourth against a similar field in the Bold David Free For All on May 12.
“It was satisfactory,” Mr Thompson said of Guaranteed, who is trained by Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin. “At the bend (driver) Gavin (Lang) was confident he would go really well but he battled a little. We will get a better idea come this Saturday.
“It’s a day-by-day proposition now as to how he will perform. Clayton and Emma are fairly happy with him, but in the class bracket he is in he has to be 110 per cent.
“There are no easy races. Maximan and Major Crocker are good horses and there are probably even better horses the next step up, like Hectorjayjay and Lennytheshark, and then there are all the new kids on the block.”
Guaranteed will again run into Major Crocker and Maximan in this Saturday’s feature race, which also features Milly Perez, Cold Major and My Field Marshall, who will back up from last Saturday’s TAB.com.au 4YO and 5YO Championship.
“It’s race-by-race, if he gets a good draw hopefully he will finish off better than last time. (Co-trainer) Clayton (Tonkin) is very happy with him and he has pulled up well.”
And he has drawn well, having not only obtained gate five without a huge amount of early pace drawn inside him, but with Maximan and Major Crocker drawn on the back row.
GoodForm analyst Blake Redden rated Guaranteed a 50-50 chance to find the front, expecting Stormfortheboys (gate one) and Cyrus (gate three) to wage a war early before the leader potentially hands up to Guaranteed.
Likely favourite Major Crocker, winner of three of his last five starts, will likely amble forward into the breeze and it will be on in earnest.
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