Oakford trainer Brian Kersley believes Woodsville shows no signs of training off and is optimistic the rising 10-year-old can boost his Bunbury Cup (2200m) ambitions on Sunday.
Woodsville, in work since last November, has been placed at his past four starts and lines-up in a field of nine in the Bull & Bush Tavern Cup (2019m) at Bunbury.
Kersley says Woodsville’s previous start at Ascot when he finished a long-head second in the Listed Detonator Stakes (1800m), gave him the confidence to extend the gelding’s campaign.
“He has been up for a while, but arguably his last start was the best run of his preparation,” Kersley said.
“I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how he’s going and can’t put a finger on why there’s a form turnaround.
“I put it down to a happy horse in a happy environment and he is showing me no visible signs that he is tapering off.”
Woodsville, a Blackfriars gelding, scored his best win when taking out the Kalgoorlie Cup for trainer Jeff Noske and his jockey daughter, Jerry, in 2015.
Since joining Kersley’s team a year ago, the $397, 847 stakes earner has picked up two wins and seven minor placings from 20 starts.
Kersley said despite Woodsville’s ageing legs, with upcoming feature country cup races, the gelding was striking good form at the right time.
“I’m just very happy at the moment with how he is travelling,” Kersley said.
“It has given me a lot of self-satisfaction knowing we are doing the right thing.
“As a trainer with a small team it keeps your name up in lights.”
Woodsville and Dark Alert share the second line of betting ($4.40) behind Eleven Seconds, who is looking to rebound after running fourth to Falcon Crest in the Detonator Stakes.
Woodsville had drawn barrier seven and will be ridden by Lucy Warwick.
“I’m pretty surprised it’s a small field, but I think it will work to our favour, “Kersley said.
“I think he is knocking on the door and is overdue to break through.
“This race will determine if we go head at look at the Bunbury Cup.”