KYNETON trainer George Osborne hopes Mount Horeb can overcome a minor setback to take his place in the field for Saturday's $60,000 Almandin Handicap (1100m) at Flemington.
Osborne has been treating the smart five-year-old gelding for a foot abscess and is facing a race against time to have the horse fit for a tilt at a rare Victorian win.
The Moshe/Justine's Pride gelding has been trained by Osborne throughout his career and has won seven of 18 starts and been placed in a further two.
But six of those victories, from eight starts, have been on New South Wales tracks, where Mount Horeb has revelled in the clockwise direction of racing.
Remarkably, for a horse trained at Kyneton, Mount Horeb has only raced in his home state seven times. A further three of his runs have been at either Morphettville or Gawler in South Australia.
Osborne is confident the gelding can rebound from a luckless and frustrating sixth in the $160,000 Wagga Town Plate on April 30, when severely hampered at the top of the straight.
"I thought he should have finished in the first three, he got his legs taken from underneath him at the point of the turn, which put him out of the race," he said.
"It took all the wind out of his sails as he was just building up momentum.
"(Jockey Winona Costin) thought he would certainly have finished top three. I'm sure he would have been the horse to run down if he got to the lead at the top of the straight, which was disappointing."
The trip down the Flemington straight will be a new proposition for Mount Horeb, who has never before raced at headquarters and won only once in seven starts on left-handed tracks.
"I think the opposition itself should be okay, it's his grade (benchmark 78) - I think he's up to that standard," he said.
"But the theory is his best form is going the other way, so the straight might suit him.
"It's been well documented he's had a few knee injuries and they were looked after last year, but he just doesn't get around the turns on the right leg as well as he does the Sydney-way and doesn't let-down as well.
"His record is almost infallible the other way."
The theory is his best form is going the other way, so the straight might suit him.George Osborne
Two-kilogram claiming apprentice Thomas Stockdale will ride Mount Horeb on Saturday and will become the 16th jockey to take the reins on the gelding in 19 starts.
Flemington looms as the last stop on the way to next month's $90,000 Golden Topaz at Swan Hill for Mount Horeb.
"That will probably be the end of his prep, but if everything goes okay on Saturday, the Topaz would be a nice race for him," Osborne said.
"It's in his ball-park.
"I have had a couple of runners and placegetters in it before with similar types of horses, so he'd certainly be a live hope in it."
Meanwhile, a busy five days ahead for the Osborne stable will include runners at Seymour today, Stawell on Friday, Flemington and Wodonga on Saturday, Ballarat on Sunday, and Echuca on Monday.
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