King eyes Nestor Schofield crown

Brendan Pursell is eyeing off an almost immediate feature race celebration with kennel newcomer King I Am in Saturday’s Nestor Schofield Memorial Final (525m) at The Meadows.

The lightly-raced King I Am, winner of four of his 10 starts, made only his second appearance for Lara-based Pursell when winning his heat of the lucrative Grade 5 series at Sandown Park last Thursday in 29.73s on a testing surface.

The well-bred son of Barcia Bale had previously been prepared by part-owner Angela Langton.

“Angela and Jeff (Britton) have that many dogs and Angela asked me if I had any spare kennels,” Pursell explained.

“He’s got a terrific record and he’s definitely got the speed.

“He probably needs to strengthen up a bit but I was pretty happy with his heat win, especially being only his second ‘500’ in three months.

“The track was very heavy so it was good to see him lead all-the-way and win by four lengths. He’ll run 29.40s around Sandown on a decent track.”

Heats of the Nestor Schofield series were held at both Sandown and The Meadows with King I Am, the most inexperienced finalist, to make his debut at the latter venue when he exits box three in Saturday’s $12,000 to-the-winner final.

King I Am is $4.80 second elect with TAB, with Deb Coleman’s rails runner Zipping Benson, a 29.97s heat winner at The Meadows, $2.70 favourite.

WATCH: King I Am (B7) take out heat two of the Nester/Schofield Memorial at Sandown Park.

“I trialled him around there on Monday and he went super,” Pursell said.

“He went 17.75s, which was the best of the day.

“I don’t think the track really matters with him; the issue is that in the first five metres he goes nowhere.

“Once he hits the ground he takes off, like he showed in his heat, but he needs room at the start. It all depends on what happens around him.

“His chances depend on whether he can lead. If he can lead he can win but the problem is that there’s a lot of speed in the race, with dogs that have been running over 450m/460m, so he definitely needs to be on his game.”

The Nestor Schofield Memorial is race 9 on Saturday’s Meadows’ card, to jump at 5.58pm.

*Photo taken by Sandra Ettridge.

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