There’s been quite a few headaches and dramas associated with Hoodless, who has the opportunity to show his true worth for his owners at Albury on Thursday.
Hoodless, a well bred son of Snippetson with just 11 starts to his name for two wins, has been a work in progress for Albury trainer Norm Loy, who feels he’s finally winning the battle with the wayward gelding.
“He is perfect on the training track, but when he gets in the starting barriers he gets claustrophobic and that has been his problem,” Loy said of the four-year old.
“We have spent a bit of money getting him re-trialled and sorted out and finally he is much better, but he can still be a bit funny in the gates.
“He has a lot of ability - the main thing has been getting him over his barrier problems.”
Loy and part-owner owner Terry Boyce purchased Hoodless, who had a reputation in the barriers from the start.
“He used to play up and we have had our problems, but lately he’s been doing everything right,” he said.
“If he can put it altogether I think he will be hard to beat.
“He won at Albury two starts ago and then finished off well last start to finish fourth and, if he runs up to those two runs, he will go well.”
Loy thinks enough of Hoodless to suggest a start in a Highway Handicap in Sydney will be his next run after Albury, providing he runs up to expectations.
So far, Hoodless has returned a win, a fourth and three fifths from five starts for Loy and he has also had four trials to ensure he was passed right to race.
Hoodless will take on a competitive list of opponents in the Class 3 (1400m) that includes impressive last- start winner Lawton Joseph.
Trainer Andrew Dale has had four winners from his past seven starters, which include Lawton Joseph at Albury last month.
The five-year old finished brilliantly to defeat Hargy, who is due for a change of luck for trainer John Taylor of Albury.
“It looks a nice race for him,” Lawton Joseph’s trainer Dale said.
“He seems to race well fresh and this will be his first start for four weeks.”
Hargy has finished in the top three placings at his past five starts and while he has only won twice from 42 starts, he’s been placed on 12 occasions.
It’s a seven-race program at Albury, the first, over 1600m, starting at 1.35pm, with the last from 5.10.
After Thursday’s meet, the club will host four more, prior to the Gold Cup.
Albury will race again on January 18, February 1 and 16, as well as Sunday, March 18.
The Gold Cup, which attracts at least 14,000 people and has broken the magical 20,000-barrier – an enormous achievement for a regional club – will be held on Friday, March 23.