Hopes hampered by Sir’s wide draw

Shannon Hope was happy to see the rain tumbling down on Thursday morning, but it only alleviated one of his concerns for “Sir Andrew” ahead of his scheduled Australian debut this Saturday.

The Group 2-winning Kiwi was handed the second-widest starting position in the$40,000 Pancare Handicap (1400m) at Flemington, which has attracted a capacity field of 16 plus four emergencies.

Hope, who prepares the four-year-old in partnership with his father, Lee said the barrier would make the gelding’s task a tough one.

“He’s been out here two or three weeks and his work seems good,” Hope said.

“He’ll probably need a bit of give in the track and he has drawn awkwardly. I would have loved to have seen him draw a bit better.”

The wide draw has Hope contemplating whether to start the son of Sir Percy, or reserve him for a race at Sale next Thursday. Wherever he does kick off, Hope is excited about what is in store for the next few months for the recruit who came to Gale Lodge from Richard Otto.

Sir Andrew had five starts in his homeland, including a thrilling Group 2 win in the 1400m Hawkes Bay Guineas (1400m) three runs back. His efforts since have been a second placing, over 1200m, on March 18 and a fourth placing over the same trip on 18 April.

“He came over very forward and we’ve really only had to tick him over,” Hope said.

“He’ll have to go back from the barrier because he hasn’t had a run for a while and by going forward we’d just expose him. So we’ll ride him to hit the line late if he does go around. “He’s here for the Winter Championship, that’s his goal at this stage, so hopefully he can run well on Saturday.”

Sir Andrew, a $9 chance in TAB’s market, will carry 57.5kg on Saturday after the claim for inform Regan Bayliss.

Brad Bishop @racing.com

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