Nathan Xuereb thinks Redbelly Jack can overcome a tricky Soldiers Saddle semi-final draw

HE will have to contend with a tricky barrier 11 draw, but driver Nathan Xuereb still thinks Redbelly Jack is good enough to win his Soldiers Saddle semi-final at the Bathurst Paceway on Wednesday night.

CONFIDENT: Driver Nathan Xuereb believes Redbelly Jack can make the Soldiers Saddle final. Photo: ANYA WHITELAW

CONFIDENT: Driver Nathan Xuereb believes Redbelly Jack can make the Soldiers Saddle final. Photo: ANYA WHITELAW

Given what the four-year-old son of Rock N Roll Heaven did in his heat last week, it is easy to see why Xuereb is confident.

Sitting midfield as they headed into the back straight for the final time, Xuereb set off on a three-wide move towards the death seat. But as the driver sensed the pace dropping off, he decided for an even more aggressive move and urged Redbelly Jack to keep attacking.

A scorching 27 seconds split saw Redbelly Jack leave his rivals in his wake, the Londonderry gelding then holding off the hopeful swoopers down the home straight for a convincing 12.4 metre win.

"He's got a nasty turn of foot,” Xuereb, who drives for his father Michael, said.

"I knew he had that turn speed in him, but it's a different story sustaining that to the winning post.

"But he's got a real big heart, I knew he'd try his guts out to the end.”

That heat win came from barrier 10, so when Redbelly Jack drew 11 for the 1,730m semi-final, the driver was not troubled.

While his semi-final includes fellow heat winner Hez All Courage, Xuereb thinks his runner is good enough to claim one of the 12 spots in the decider.

“He's drawn three back on the second row, but I'm not real fussed about that, I think he can overcome that draw,” he said.

"He'll need a bit of luck, we've got to hope that he doesn't get held up in traffic and can get a clear run.

“I think he can run away from them if he gets clear, but they are heats and semi-finals for a reason, there's some good horses in there. They aren't easy to win and like I said, he'll need some luck.”

The first of the saddle semi-finals which will feature Redbelly Jack, will commence at 6.07pm.