HE'S drawn well, he's in good form and owner-breeder Gemma Hewitt is confident Kashed Up has the talent to spring an upset in the Group 1 final of the NSW Breeders Challenge three-year-old colts and geldings series.
After copping a tough barrier seven draw for the semi-final, Gemma Hewitt nervously watched on from Queensland as her father Bernie Hewitt drove Kashed Up to fifth place.
That was good enough to qualify him for this Saturday night's $150,000 Group 1 final.
"He was sitting last and around the home bend I thought 'He doesn't look like he's doing much' and he was taking a while to round them up. He always does his best work late, he storms home, but I was a little bit worried," Gemma Hewitt admitted.
"But then you see those last two quarters, 26.8 and 26.9, and for him to pass five horses in that run home - I know that goes under the radar, but everyone knows with the right draw he's ready for a Group 1."
Kashed Up is now being trained by her father at Georges Plains given she has relocated to Queensland, which means Hewitt won't be able to be trackside for the 1,609 metres final.
But she will again be watching on to see if her For A Reason x Laughing Lilly gelding can pull off his first Group 1 win.
"It will be his seventh Group 1 [final] out of 29 starts, it's a good record. It's really special for a horse I bred myself to have done that already and he's only three," she said.
"He surprises me every single time. As a two-year-old I always thought he was good enough to make the Group 1s but probably not good enough to majorly compete, but just every one he goes in he just keeps surprising us.
"Even getting that run in the Rising Sun, that was against four-year-olds, above his age group, against the best horses in Australia and he was one of the most impressive runners in that race.
"So he really deals well with each of his challenges and I think with the right run, like in the Bathurst Gold Chalice where he only got beat by a head, that's all he needs, a little bit of luck and I think he can be up there.
"He's got the will do well and as I said, he's up to every challenge."
A challenge is what Kashed Up will face in the decider, with semi-final one winner Titian Raider to start as favourite from barrier one, while fellow semi-final two victor Captain Crusader (barrier five) plus Bar Room Banta (barrier 12) are also highly fancied.
From barrier two Kashed Up is fourth in the line of betting as a $13 prospect and Hewitt thinks he can be in the mix.
"He's got a good barrier so he's in with every chance. I think that draw is absolutely superb and that's all you can hope for. Everyone has their horses spot on for those races and they're all good horses, so it really just comes down to luck and barrier draws," she said.
"The favourite is in one and we're in two, so I couldn't be happier.
"Captain Crusader is obviously the other big danger with his gate speed. My horse doesn't possess great gate speed, he has good gate speed but it's not superb, so our hopes are to be the on the fence behind the favourite and just hope they go to war up front.
"If they do that and he has a good trip, he's good enough that he'll be there at the finish."
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