BALLARAT trainer Mark Lewis says he has never had By The Way better ahead to today’s listed $120,000 BMW Weekend Hussler Stakes, 1400m, at Caulfield.
By The Way is first-up from a break as he attempts to return to winning form for the first time in almost two years.
While wins have eluded the eight-year-old in that time, he has put in some big runs to fill city minor placings – charging home from well back, but finding the finish line too close.
They have included three seconds and a third, all at Flemington.
Lewis is eager to change his racing pattern and have jockey Jason Benbow settle By The Way closer to the pace.
He says midfield, three-wide with cover would be ideal.
Lewis said By The Way had always been sluggish out of the barriers.
He said hopefully being fresh By The Way could repeat what he did a few weeks ago in a jumpout when he landed behind the leader.
“He looks sensational and has pleased us with his work.
“He’s in a happy place at the moment, so we’re hoping for a bold showing.”
Lewis also expects By The Way to be suited by what he believes will be a keen pace early, with the likes of the Dan O’Sullivan-trained British General and Peter Snowden’s Bello searching for the lead from outside barriers. “The pressure should be on.”
British General is backing up from a close second to a hard-finishing Molto Bene in the $120,000 listed Headquarters Tavern Stakes, 1410m, at Flemington on Saturday.
British General led before going down by a length.
Leading Ballarat-trained hopes today:
ANATINA (Robert Smerdon*): group 3 $150,000 Thoroughbred Club Stakes, 1200m
BROKEN (Darren Weir): group 2 $220,00 Schweppes Schillaci Stakes, 1000m
SHAMAL WIND (Robert Smerdon*): $135,000 Sportingbet Sprint Series Final, 1200m
BRITISH GENERAL (Dan O’Sullivan): listed $120,000 BMW Weekend Hussler Stakes, 1400m
BY THE WAY (Mark Lewis): listed $120,000 BMW Weekend Hussler Stakes, 1400m
VERDANT (Robert Smerdon*): group 2 $220,000 Sportingbet Herbert Power Stakes, 2400m
LINTON (John Sadler*): group 1 $400,000 David Jones Toorak Handicap, 1600m
LORD OF BRAZIL (Darren Weir): group 1 $400,000 David Jones Toorak Handicap, 1600m
LUCKYGRAY (Robert Smerdon*): group 1 $400,000 David Jones Toorak Handicap, 1600m
* satellite stable or secondary training base in Ballarat