WAGGA trainer Wayne Carroll will be hoping the booking of top Sydney jockey Kerrin McEvoy pays off when Sumdeel tackles Saturday's Highway at Kembla Grange.
Sumdeel will be one of two Wagga horses represented when Saturday metropolitan racing heads to Kembla Grange this weekend for the staging of 'The Gong'.
The last-start Albury winner is a $10 chance with TAB and will be boosted by the services of McEvoy, a winner of 71 group one races, in the $100,000 Highway Class Three Handicap (1600m).
Carroll hopes the booking of McEvoy proves a decisive one given the particular way Sumdeel needs to be ridden to be at her best.
The Dundeel mare has drawn barrier 12 in the field of 14 but Carroll believes that may not prove a big disadvantage.
"Barrier 12 is a touch tricky but I'd rather be 12 than one, two or three," Carroll said.
"She'll definitely go back from there. The last couple of runs, be it she ran fourth and won, but the jocks have taken a length here or there in the run, which is good for a lot of horses but for Sumdeel it's not.
"She's a mare that realistically, you jump and go to sleep and stay there over a mile. You've just got to have her bolting underneath you. Have her absolutely bolting underneath you. And then let her go.
"That's when you really see her hit the line hard. In a race, she'll give you the feel that she's travelling and can go, and she'll run good, don't get me wrong but what you're doing is, you'll take the sprint out of her.
"She's got a paralysing sprint if you use her properly. She's got a beautiful 400-450 metre sprint. If you just cuddle her. That's my plan but I'm not Kerrin McEvoy either."
Sumdeel had virtually retired during the middle of this year. The stable had long dealt with ulcer issues with the mare before a paddock accident almost spelt the end.
Carroll and connections persevered and are glad they did so. She returned with a second and fourth placing before breaking through over a mile at Albury last start.
"Everything is good with her now. She's so well and she's really matured too," Carroll said.
"I can't be happier. She's fit and well. The mile is perfect for her. I believe she'll run 2000. She's learnt to relax so much now.
"She had a lot of ulcer problems and we're finally on top of that. She's good. Honestly I can say, it's the best her body's ever been."
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Sumdeel was nominated for last week's Hair of the Dog Cup at Gundagai but wasn't an acceptor. Saturday's Highway has always been the goal.
Carroll admits while he would be happy with a top-six finish on Saturday, he believes she is capable of winning.
"Yes, I do. If she's ridden right, where she's really tracking, and Kembla's a big long straight. If she's tracking, I'll be honest, she can gallop," he said.
"You've just got to ride her accordingly. You can get caught, I'll just take that run, get a bit closer, get a bit closer, but what you're actually doing is taking the sprint out of her and that's the problem. But at the same time, you can't be 20 lengths off them either.
"We're just going to save her for one crack at them and if you're good enough, you're good enough."
The Gary Colvin-trained Sizzling Cat is the $4.20 favourite for the affair, as he looks to go one better than his last-start second placing in a Highway a fortnight ago.
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