Run Like Jess has the optimal opportunity to announce himself on the big stage having drawn perfectly in his heat of the McKenna Memorial this Thursday night.
His recent step up to the mid-distance ranks has seen some very impressive come-from-behind efforts. Most recently he was 4th beaten just 1½ lengths by Last Hurrah in last week’s Gr8 Eight.
“He’s now had four runs over ‘600’ (metres) and has been good in all of them. Obviously the distance suits him and I get the feeling he could even develop into a stayer,” said trainer Robert Palmer.
He’ll jump from the coveted box 1 in heat 3 of the McKenna Memorial and meets 715m track record holder Here’s Tears and explosive sprinter Christo Bale.
“The draw is absolutely perfect. Last week he wasn’t able to hold his position on the rail, but if he can hold a spot there this time he will give them a big shake. With a clear run he could break 34 seconds.
“It will be a big test and it’s going to be a good guide of where he’s at. He’s got the draw and now it’s all up to him.”
Palmer bought Run Like Jess’ mother Paua To Avoid before mating her to Fernando Bale, a big decision that has proven to be a good one. With Run Like Jess in McKenna Memorial heats it’s Palmer’s first engagement in a group race series.
“This is the first series at group level that I’ve been a part of. I’m really excited.”
The hottest act leading into the heats is Last Hurrah as he was dominant through the Gr8 Eight series. Click here for trainer Brett Nye’s thoughts plus who highlights each heat of the McKenna.