EXITOZO has run three shockers at his last three starts but can throw all that aside when he contests Tuesday’s $20,000 John “Mouse” Sinclair Cup (1600m) at Quirindi.
Scott Thompson prepares the six-year-old son of Excites at Quirindi and would like nothing better than for the gelding to rediscover his best form in a race named in honour of one of Quirindi’s racing legends.
That Exitozo has “three duck eggs” beside his name in the form guide at his last three starts is baffling to Thompson.
He’s watched him race without zest in the Guyra Cup (14th to Exilia Miss), Country Cup at Scone (12th to After All That) and the 1600m Gunnedah Cup (12th to Unbiased).
He was beaten 8.7 lengths at Armidale, 12.56 lengths at Scone and 9.4 lengths at Gunnedah.
Despite all that, Thompson thinks his gelding, who has won five of his 28 starts and $127,360 in prizemoney for owner Charles Hill, can run a big race in the Mouse Cup.
“I expect him to run a good race,” Thompson said Sunday morning.
“I’ll be disappointed if he doesn’t.”
So where does the confidence come from?
“Last time [preparation] he hurt his back at Canterbury and we put him out for a spell,” Thompson explained.
“When he came back he ran a terrific race at Dubbo, should have nearly won but then we took him to Armidale. He missed the kick, never handled the track and ran disgraceful.
“I jumped on him on the Monday morning but he didn’t feel right. Wasn’t lame but just didn’t feel right and we treated him. So he went to Scone a little bit underdone. He ran OK and came back and improved again before we went to Gunnedah, still a little bit underdone.”
Exitozo had a tough run at Gunnedah, leading the cup field before wilting late.
“I wasn’t too disappointed with Gunnedah,” Thompson said.
“He wasn’t lame but he just wasn’t stretching out. Hopefully I’m back on top of him now because it would be a nice race to win.”
Exitozo is a half brother to Group winner Invincible Gem.
He will be ridden by Aaron Bullock on Tuesday from barrier eight as they seek to end the run of duck eggs.
“I just want to get him back to where he was,” Thompson said.
“He should have won a couple in town, at Warwick Farm and Rosehill, but then he hurt himself at Canterbury and we had to spell him.
“Aaron should give him a nice soft run from that barrier too, a bit easier run than he had at Gunnedah.”
The John “Mouse” Sinclair Cup is named in honour of a man who was the Quirindi Jockey Club secretary from 1974 to 2002. Sadly he passed away from liver cancer in 2012 aged 73.