SCHAPPOSE has good timing.
Rather, his trainer and co-owner, Zach Hatch, couldn't have timed his gelding's tilt at a second TAB Highway Handicap in Sydney any better.
Hatch's Kooty Roosters have this bye this weekend, and he will drive Schappose to Randwick and a start in the $75,000 TAB Highway Class 3 Handicap (1300m) at Kensington.
"It's pretty handy having the bye, it's worked out well for me," he said. "It's good for the Roosters too. We're in a good position and playing well."
Hatch has been "a bit crook" the past couple of weeks with a dose of flu, so having the week off has also helped him. Schappose, he said, is fit and healthy.
"Drawn well (barrier five) and should have every chance," Hatch said. "Robbie Dolan will ride him again."
Dolan was aboard the horse when he ran fourth in his other Highway tilt.
Hatch and co-owner Kris Thomas bought Schappose for $6500 as a tried horse after just one start for Melbourne trainer Mick Price.
"In his 10 starts for me he's finished no further back than fourth," Hatch said. "He's been a model of consistency."
If Schappose wins on Saturday, it will end his eligibility to contest the Highway Handicaps in Sydney but it might be a springboard to a Country Championship campaign.
"That's the idea," Hatch said. "Not having too big a head, but we might have a crack at the Country Championship. He's had 11 starts for three wins."
Hatch will head to Gunnedah on Monday, where he has Kensington Kid in the $22,000 Kelaher Instrumentation And Electrical Maiden Handicap (1000m). "He's 200-1," Hatch laughed. "He's second up from a long spell and needs the run."
He trains Kensington Kid for his "pop", David Hatch.
Monday's Gunnedah meeting is a seven-race TAB affair highlighted by the 2050m Agquip Cup, a benchmark 58 handicap featuring the Lesley Jeffriess-trained topweight Husonique.
Jeffriess and apprentice Yvette Lewis combined to win at Quirindi on Tuesday with Call Me Brad.