Kembla Grange preview: Anthony Moutney feels Herb can bounce back

Not much went right for Herb at Rosehill last start in a Midway race but he will feel much more at home at Kembla Grange on Thursday.

The Anthony Mountney-trained four-year-old will race in the opening event on the card over 1600m after recovering well from a torrid run four weeks ago in town.

He sat up on the speed that day and faded to run 13th of 15.

“We were meant to ride him a bit negative at his last start in town but it was a bit of nightmare when he got up on the speed and three-wide,” Mountney said.

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“He wasn’t meant to be there. He was meant to be back where the favourite was but it just panned out that way with him being over the mile for the first time and being a young horse.”

Despite the tough looking run, Herb pulled up better than expected so there’s no concerns with how much it possibly took out of him and Mountney is hoping for a completely different run this time.

“He’s ticking along well and we’ll ride him a bit negative,” he said.

“He’ll sit back this time and the ground will have a bit of give in it and we’ll give him every chance to get the mile.

“He pulled up well from the run and he hasn’t taken a backward step and his work has been as good as every other run leading up to a start this preparation.”

Mountney has no doubt placed the son of Sizzling well back on his home track and in an easier race.

“He needed it just for confidence after that Sydney run,” he said.

“He’s been very relaxed in his work so the mile should be right up his ally.

“He took on hardened horses last time so we’re back to Kembla to let his confidence build and we’ll ride him accordingly and I think he’s my best of the day.”

Wolves will be out to break his maiden at start 14 in the third race so is today his day?

“Who knows?” Mountney said.

The four-year-old had no luck behind Extreme Freedom here four weeks ago and this time last year he was being prepared for a Stakes race so the quality is there.

“We thought we had her right last start and I think she hit every horse in the race,” Mountney said.

“She’s had time to get over that but she did come back from that run like she never had one so I might have had her a tough too well.

“I ride her all the time at the beach and she was very strong in her work on Tuesday.”

Delicately is Mountney’s other horse going around today in the sixth event and she hit the line well first-up over 1200m and the plan will be the same again from barrier 13 under Winona Costin.

“She goes into this run fresh and she’ll go back from the wide draw,” Mountney said.

“I’d expect her to be hitting the line well and she’ll handle the wet track as will the other two.”


It couldn’t have come any easier in the toughest of conditions for Man Of Reign last start at Moruya and he’s ready to go on with it at Kembla Grange on Thursday.

The Luke Musson-trained Nowra galloper races in the seventh event over 1200m after winning last start by more than five lengths over the same distance.

Jockey Jean Van Overmeire rode him that day and is naturally glad to be back on to see if he can win up in grade.

“I’m looking forward to getting back on him after he won really well down at Moruya,” Van Overmeire said.

“He beat them easily in the country and now he just needs to back in up at Kembla Grange.”

Van Overmeire’s only fear is that he may not be able to reproduce such a good performance yet again against better horses.

“I’m just hoping it didn’t gas him,” he said.

“It was a very heavy track that day and he had a wide barrier and he put such an effort in and was so impressive.

“He didn’t have a big blow after that win but it was testing ground and he’s got to handle stepping up in grade now.”

Van Overmeire said the positives however far outweigh the negatives with Man Of Reign who should race in similar fashion to what he did last start from barrier 13.

“What won me the race comfortably at Moruya was that I had a wide gate and I just stayed to the outside fence the entire race basically, even down the back and around the corners,” Van Overmeire said.

“I stayed in the middle of the track because no horses had been down there all day and it wasn’t chopped out.

“The stable told be before the race that they’ve done their job and now it’s my turn to do mine and he’s going to get a heavy track again and he’s proven on it.”

Van Overmeire is relaying on four scratchings from the fourth race so Godolphin runner Frontenac gets a run.

“She looks like a nice horse. She looks very promising,” Van Overmeire said.

“She looks well placed down there and comes into it off two nice trials.

Originally published as Kembla Grange preview: Anthony Mountney looking to turn a negative into a positive

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