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Victorian raiders set for display of Showmanship at Randwick

John Leek Jnr is making the long drive from country Victoria to Sydney with two talented geldings in tow.

SHOWMANSHIP.
SHOWMANSHIP. Picture: Martin King / Sportpix

Once touted as an Everest contender before being struck down by soundness issues, Showmanship will be looking to prove that he still packs a punch when he returns to Sydney for the first time in almost two years.

The eight-year-old, who will line up in Saturday's Listed Winter Stakes (1400m) at Randwick, has twice had his career interrupted for lengthy periods.

Considered one of the rising stars of the sprinting ranks after winning seven of his first eight starts, he was in discussions for the 2020 Everest before a tendon issue sidelined him for 18 months.

He returned for three runs, including a slashing Group 3 victory at his only Sydney visit two years later, then spent another 15 months out of action.

Owner Bob Peters eventually sent Showmanship to John Leek Jnr, who has a knack for managing horses with wear and tear issues.

The gelding made a great start for his new stable when motoring home from last to finish a half-length fourth in the Doveton Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield in December, and again wasn't beaten far when resuming with a midfield effort in the Wangoom Handicap in May.

Leek says nothing went right for Showmanship at Sandown last start, but on a heavy track at Randwick he is anticipating a much-improved performance.

"He's a beautiful horse," Leek said.

"He's got a lot of ability but as you can see, he obviously hasn't raced much so we've just got to plan his runs and get him onto a wet track.

"There have been no ratings races to suit him, but we've found one on Saturday. He's in well and I'm looking forward to it.

"It's been the plan for a while."

Showmanship will be joined in Sydney by stablemate Fengarada, who will contest the Task Handicap (2000m).

Both horses are looking for rain-affected ground and Leek will be making the long road trip with them to find it.

"The furthest we normally go is to Warrnambool, but these horses are screaming out for a wet track," he said.

"Showmanship is an older horse, he's got niggling issues so we've got to try to get him onto a soft track to try to keep him in good order.

"Fengarada, I love him too. He's a mudlark so we're really looking forward to watching him go around."

Fengarada won four of his first five starts for the stable and Leek has been encouraged by his two runs back from a spell.

He expects him to strip much fitter third-up and the gelding has won six of his seven appearances on heavy ground.

Leek will be bidding to continue to heady run of Victorian trainers in Sydney with Matt Laurie, Scott Cameron and the Price-Kent stable all producing winners at Rosehill last weekend.