Trainer Bruce Kay has urged punters not to overlook Sheikh It as he aims for his first success in the XXXX Broome Cup (2200m) on Saturday.
Kay had his first crack at winning the Broome Cup last year, but came up short when Bulletson finished a fair margin of Staaden in sixth place.
Kay is confident he can get closer to victory with Sheikh It, who has shown an appreciation for Broome’s red dirt before a last-start flop.
Following one win and two seconds from his first three Broome starts, Sheikh It finished out of the money in the Kimberley Cup (2020m).
The five-year-old finished ahead of Media Baron and Pieropan only, but it didn’t knock Kay’s confidence, who believes there were genuine excuses.
He maintains Sheikh It can bounce back and should not be underestimated in the Broome Cup.
“He didn’t get the best of beginnings and then got trapped wide and couldn’t get a run,” Kay told The Races WA.
“I would rule a line through it and just forget he went around; he just didn’t get any type of luck in the run at all.
“You have to go on his first three runs which were really good and importantly he came out of it in good order.
“I’ve changed it up a bit by keeping him away from the track with a lot of beach work and he’s been bouncy and happy.”
Sheikh It, previously in the care of Darren McAuliffe in Perth, has not won beyond 1700m and has failed in several attempts over 2000m.
Kay doesn’t believe the gelding will be tested over the Broome Cup journey.
“I don’t think the trip is really a concern,” Kay said.
“He went okay in a staying trip not long ago in Perth that they voided.
“The race that was run over 2100m instead of 2200m.
“In that race he was at least seven or eight lengths off them at the top of the straight and only got beaten a length.
“He was running on powerfully.”
A 14-horse line up will contest the Broome Cup. Sheikh It, with Jerry Noske aboard, will jump from barrier seven.
“There looks to be a lot of speed on his inside,” Kay said.
“Hopefully, he gets away better and can lob in behind.”
Kay says Blackwater Bay, one of two entrants for trainer Rob Gulberti, poses the biggest threat to Sheikh It.
The Blackfriars gelding stamped his Broome Cup credentials with a slashing third in the Kimberley Cup.
“Blackwater Bay was the eye-catcher in that race,” Kay said.
“In The Bag will also be hard to beat.
“It’s a tough race with many chances.
“I’m quietly confident without being overconfident.”