By Glenn Davis
Late bloomer Tonsor will be on trial to join trainer Matthew Smith’s Brisbane winter carnival team when the gelding makes his open company debut at Doomben on Saturday.
Former South African rider Robbie Fradd will partner the NSW raider in the Open Handicap (1350m).
Smith also accepted with Tonsor in the Class Six Handicap (1350m) but a poor barrier forced the Newcastle trainer’s hand to run the five-year-old against open company sprinters.
“The only reason he’s running in the open race is because he drew bad in the Class Six,” Smith said.
“I would have preferred to run in the Class Six as it’s a lot easier race.”
Smith has a big opinion of Tonsor who has started only seven times but has an impeccable record with four wins and three placings.
“He came to me as a three-year-old and never having a start,” Smith said.
“I’m not sure why he started so late but I think he must have had a few issues early on.
“He’s a nice horse and (jockey) James McDonald thinks he’ll develop into a very good horse.”
Tonsor didn’t have his first start until May last year but quickly stamped himself as a horse with a bright future winning at Warwick Farm and Canterbury at his past two starts.
Tonsor has already proven himself over 1400 metres but in much weaker grade.
“I want to try him up over 1400 metres to see if he can run it in good company,” Smith said.
“It’ll open a few doors if he can, especially for the winter races here.
“I planning to send several horses to Brisbane for the winter carnival and if he races well tomorrow, he could be with them.”
Smith said Tonsor used to charge in his races early in his career but he’s now learnt to settle with maturity.
“He used to charge a lot in his early races but he’s learning to settle now,” he said.
“He’s got a good turn of foot but he needs to relax.”
Tonsor won’t be disadvantaged by a rain-affected Doomben track which is currently in the slow range.
The son of the late Redoute’s Choice has started five times on slow tracks for three wins and two placings.
“He goes well on soft tracks but James McDonald has always said he’s better on top of the ground,” Smith said.
Racing Queensland webnews March 29