The West

Podgy Keepers back in the mix
Keepers Court winning at Belmont Park. Pic: Hollands Photographics

Trainer Alan Mathews hopes his patience with Keepers Court, who resumes at Ascot on Saturday, is rewarded with a shot at the $110,000 Bunbury Cup (2200m) in March.

Mathews, a master trainer of stayers with six Perth Cup victories, kept Keepers Court away from the Festival of Perth Racing features this summer because of his low rating of 82.

The Keeper four-year-old ran in the first three at six of seven starts from August to November last year.

Mathews was tempted to set him for the Ascot riches, including the $1 million Railway Stakes (1600m) and $500,000 Perth Cup (2400m), after his consecutive wins over 1400m at Belmont Park.

But he opted to spell Keepers Court after his last-start fifth to Uncle George at Ascot in November and target the Bunbury Cup on March 14.

The versatile entire will start first-up in a 1400m race for 80-plus rated gallopers on Saturday.

"If he can stay, the Bunbury Cup will be our plan," Mathews said.

"He had three or four weeks in the paddock after his last run and he might be a bit podgy first-up."

Keepers Court will race second-up in the Australia Day Cup (1500m) before tackling the Detonator Stakes (1800m) on February 16.

His ultimate test for the Bunbury Cup will be in the AHA Cup (2000m) at the same track on March 3.

Meanwhile, Racing and Wagering WA chief handicapper David Hunter admitted he made a mistake when he awarded Redwood Rose second place over Light 'N' Easy in race one at Pinjarra on Sunday.

The photo finish clearly showed Light 'N' Easy beat Redwood Rose home, but the error was not picked up until after correct weight was declared, leaving some exotics punters out of pocket.

"I was the judge on duty and I made a mistake," Hunter said.

"It was the first time I've made a blue in 12 years."

·Sydney trainer Con Karakatsanis has told a hearing it would be "madness" to administer a saline drench to a horse a few hours before it raced.

Karakatsanis and his father Tony are charged over the discovery of stomach tubing equipment including a saline and electrolyte mixture belonging to them during a raid by stewards on the stable housing their horse Howmuchdoyou- loveme hours before he ran at Flemington on Derby Day last year.

"You would be absolutely crazy to give a saline drench three hours before a race," Karakatsanis said.

"It would be madness."

The inquiry continues on Tuesday.

with Australian Associated Press

The West Australian

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