Trainer Terry Brennan admits his confidence took a big hit in the Peter Evans Memorial Handicap (1700m) at Carnarvon two weeks ago.
Brennan was banking on Cat Five delivering the first prize but in a mini upset the gelding’s unbeaten Carnarvon campaign came to an abrupt halt.
Cat Five was on the hunt for five straight wins but came crashing back to reality when he finished 4 ¼ lengths fourth to This Cat Rocks
The defeat came as a body blow in the lead up to Saturday’s XXXX-Gold Carnarvon Cup and raised doubts on his effectiveness over 1600m.
The son of One Cool Cat had one previous attempt at beyond the mile and failed after running 10th of 15 to Just A Falcon in Kalgoorlie.
But Brennan shrugged aside any concerns over the distance and believes there were genuine reasons why Cat Five performed below expectations last start.
“I went too easy on him,” said Brennan.
“That’s what I put it down to.
“It wasn’t a bad run but he’s run better.
“Danny (Miller) thinks he can get the trip.
“He said I had to start him which gave me confidence.
“It’s going to be hard to make up the ground.
“This Cat Rocks and Me Hungi will be hard to beat.
“You also can’t dismiss Gold Broker.
“There are many chances in a tough race.
“Cat Five’s work this week has been exceptional.
“He has had a terrific campaign.
“He will be finishing a lot closer to them and will improve.”
This Cat Rocks and Me Hungi form a potent two-pronged attack for trainer, Jaqueline Henderson, who is having her first crack at a Carnarvon Cup.
In an ominous sign five of the past six winners of the Carnarvon Cup have taken out the traditional lead up race: the Peter Evans Memorial (1700m).
This Cat Rock, formerly with Justin Warwick, has struck form at the right time with a winning double and his on-pace style could prove effective.
RWWA: Julio Santarelli