Sandown layout to suit Is It Me

Trainer Daniel Bowman is banking on the bigger Sandown track being crucial to the chances of Is It Me despite the gelding rising rapidly in class. The 4-year-old tackles an open handicap on Saturday when he runs in the Tile Importer Handicap (1400m), but importantly the gelding drops 6kg on his most recent outing. 

That outing was a third-place finish in benchmark 78 company at Caulfield on June 1 over 1200m and followed a disappointing 13th in the Listed Wangoom Handicap (1200m) at Warrnambool last month. 

"We wanted to get him onto a bigger track, and it is a jump to an open handicap," Bowman said. "But it's a bit hard to justify to the owners to wait a week for Flemington for a benchmark 84 worth $80,000 when he just ran in a benchmark 78 race worth $130,000 at his last start. 

"He didn't get the room last time at Caulfield, but it was good to see him run well to show that it was just the track at Warrnambool that he didn't handle." 

Is It Me is expected to be suited by 1400 metres; picture Racing Photos

Is It Me returns to the 1400m journey on Saturday for the first time since finishing fifth at Bendigo last November. Following that outing, the son of Iffraaj went on to win over 1300m at Cranbourne and 1200m at Caulfield, but it was on the recommendation of Jordan Childs that the gelding be tried again at the longer trip. 

"We've kept him at the shorter trips for the last five or six starts, just trying to get him to relax and settle," Bowman said. "Jordy is pretty happy with him and seems to think he's doing that pretty well now and said it was time to step back to the 1400 metres. 

"It's probably more his natural distance. He's starting to put it altogether now and I would say next prep we will see the best version of him." 

Bowman said Is It Me was unlikely to step out further than 1400m at present and was only taking it one run at a time. He added that this preparation was about raising the gelding's rating. 

"The aim was to try and get his rating into the eighties so we can set a bit of a spring plan with him," Bowman said. "Something like the [Group 1] Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes [over 1400m] would be the ideal race if we thought he was good enough. It's a shame it's at Caulfield though."