EACH time trainer Greg Bennett has set Clearly Innocent a task he’s delivered and, on Saturday he’ll hand him his toughest assignment yet when he steps out first-up in the $200,000 Group 2 Bowermans Office Furniture Shorts (1100m) at Royal Randwick.
The Country Championships winner is shooting for six straight victories but it will be his first time against genuine Group horses like English, Japonisme, Ball Of Muscle and Dothraki.
Despite that, Clearly Innocent is currently the $4.50 second favourite behind English ($2.60) on TAB fixed odds.
“His last bit of work this morning was very good and we’re going down there positive and confident but under no illusions that it’s a tough field for him, especially over that distance which isn’t his ideal trip,” Bennett said.
“It’s an ideal draw  and he’ll just track up behind them.
“I just want to see him relax and hit the line off a hot speed.
“Any of those horses on their day, if they get the right run, can be winning.”
Bennett was keen to have a crack at the Epsom Handicap but feels the horse needs a little more time before racing over 1600 metres and the Longines Mile at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day is on the radar.
The biggest confidence booster for the Scone trainer has been Music Magnate’s win in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 in May, just a fortnight after Clearly Innocent beat him fairly convincingly in the Listed Luskin Star Stakes on home soil.
“It was franking our opinion of him, that he’s a potential Group horse,” Bennett said.
“His best chance to win a Group 1 is over 1400 metres to a mile.
“It would be great for me as a trainer to win at the top level and I think I’ve got a horse that has proved he isn’t a pretender with the way he won the Luskin Star.”
Bennett, despite having never won a Group race, said it wasn’t a tough decision to bypass the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.
“The horse comes first,” he said.
“Chris Waller proved that by not running Winx [in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes].
“You don’t give in to the pressure of the public, the media and punters.
“You don’t overdo it with the horse.”
The first of nine races at Royal Randwick, including the Group 1 Colgate Optic White Stakes, will be run at 12.15pm.
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