Trainer Dean Krongold has played a waiting game in his bid to have Man Of His Word fresh and ready for a tilt at the Christmas Stakes at Caulfield.
A contender in the inaugural All-Star Mile at Flemington in March, Man Of His Word has raced only three times since and lines up for the second run of his campaign in Thursday’s Listed race over 1200m.
Man Of His Word returned with a game second at Ballarat over 1200m last month, a run that placed Krongold in a quandary.
He had the option to run the gelding at Pakenham in a 1200m-race on December 7 or wait, keep him fresh and target Thursday’s race.
Krongold chose the latter and could not be happier with how his charge has prepared for the assignment.
“He’s been really well since his Ballarat run,” Krongold said.
“We put him that (Pakenham) race as it was going to be four or five weeks between runs, but he runs so well fresh.
“It doesn’t look any more competitive than his race at Ballarat and we seriously think that he can be thereabouts.”
To keep Man Of His Word’s body, and mind, fresh for the Christmas Stakes, Krongold has resisted over-galloping him in the lead-up.
Krongold said Man Of His Word had spent time at Balnarring Beach, and had also undergone dressage as a change of routine and to keep his mind active.
“We’ve given him a few maintenance gallops, kept him ticking over, but nothing too strenuous,” Krongold said.
“We’ve done a few different things trying to keep him as fresh and as happy as we can while keeping the fitness levels up to him.
“He had his final gallop at Mornington on Saturday. He did some deep sand work on Monday and minimal work until the race on Thursday.”
Krongold has eight horses in work and said Man Of His Word can be a bit tricky, so the trainer relies on his track rider Natasha Bonica to get the best from the gelding.
“He’s not the easiest horse to ride but he loves her and she loves him. They’re a match made in heaven,” Krongold said.