FROM the first time he worked Iconic Valor astute trainer Heath Redwood knew the youngster was “something special”.
Since then, the son of Jeremes Jet has continued to improve, winning three of his four starts while finishing second in the other.
Although thrilled with the freshman’s progress, Redwood is both excited and apprehensive about Iconic Valor’s next assignment – a semi-final of the Vicbred Super Series at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight.
Drawn awkwardly in barrier five, Iconic Valor faces his toughest opposition in his attempt to qualify for next week’s Empire Stallions-sponsored Final.
“I am really interested to see how he handles the step up tonight,” Redwood said. “This is his first real challenge, so I guess we will wait and see.
“In my mind there is no doubt he is up to it and they will know he is there.
“His work this week has been enormous and he is in terrific shape. That said, this run will top him off perfectly and he will be at his peak for the Final.”
Citing Born To Rocknroll as the one to beat, Redwood rates Apache Shark as a major threat despite his second row draw.
A member of the powerful Belinda McCarthy team, Born To Rocknroll has drawn to lead from barrier two, while Apache Shark will come from gate 10 for leading horsewoman Emma Stewart.
Born To Rocknroll and Apache Shark dead-heated at Maryborough last week.
“Born To Rocknroll has been favoured by the draw and will be hard to beat,” Redwood said. “Apache Shark is also a nice type, but the draw has made it tougher on him.”
Redwood will also be represented in the second semi by handy two-year-old Showgun Thomas, which will have to overcome the outside of the front row.
“He is going to need a bit of luck from there,” Redwood said. “The draw isn’t the greatest, but I’m confident he can still figure in the finish and qualify for the Final.”
- PAUL COURTS