Move over John Bateman, there's another John Bateman raiding the town.
The arrival of English international John Bateman in the nation's capital has churned the wheels of the Green Machine. The Canberra Raiders back-rower remains among the early frontrunners on the Dally M Medal leaderboard and could potentially become the first Brit to earn rugby league's highest accolade.
But the other John Bateman is no rugby league star. Rather, he's an accomplished horse trainer from Goulburn who is set to conquer Canberra on the race track.
While he's met a few of the Raiders stars, he's yet to meet his namesake.
"I do know a few Raiders. I know Jarrod Croker and Luke Bateman," Bateman said.
"I've met Luke Bateman but I've never met John Bateman because he's only come this year."
Bateman will have his first runner in the Federal when Show Me The Honey enters barrier two at Thoroughbred Park on Friday. The lightly-raced four-year-old lines up in a benchmark 70 handicap (1000 metres) for the accomplished Goulburn trainer after a six-month spell.
With the stables' most successful rider Nick Heywood taking the reigns, Bateman expects Show Me The Honey to finish in the first three or four of the $40,000 race.
"He goes pretty well fresh so I expect him to run a big race," Bateman said.
"He's a pretty big horse, he's pretty gross. He's had a fair while off racing and hasn't had a start in six months. He's strong and had good strength and ability in the past. He's just got a high benchmark and that's the only reason why I've got him starting in a race like that.
"I think he's fit enough to run a strong race and the way that he's worked he should run a big race. If he finishes in the top three I'd be happy with that."
Bateman, a former leading jockey of the western districts region, will also enter four-year-old mare Wyendra in the class 1 handicap. Like her stablemate Show Me The Honey, Wyendra returns to the draw after a long spell in the training yard.
The way that they've worked I expect them to run big races.Goulburn trainer John Bateman
Although it's been over 12 months since the chestnut mare raced in Canberra, Bateman believes she'll be fit enough to run the 1200m.
"Wyendra was a bit underdeveloped last time in and the owners have been pretty patient. They decided to give her a big long spell," Bateman said.
"She had to have some time off to develop, but now she's come back and she's had a fair bit of work."
With a strong crowd and big money on the line, the Goulburn trainer is prepared to bring the thoroughbreds back down to Canberra for another crack at the prize pool if they remain in shape after their breakthrough run.
"The way that they've worked I expect them to run big races. They've been given plenty of time to mature and they haven't really been knocked around," Bateman said.
"Hopefully it's a stepping stone for something a bit better. I'm just looking to the future for them.
"After Show Me The Honey races in Canberra he'll probably have three weeks between runs just because it's been a fair while since he has raced. He's pretty forward in condition it just means that we don't want to knock him around. We've looked after him for this long so we may as well keep looking after him."
Friday's Canberra Racing Club tips with John Scorse
Best bet: Race 6, No.4 Jeddah Aheadah: Both runs for new yard first class, gets to the right trip and ideally drawn, she will win today.
Best roughie: Race 4, No. 3 Aurora Run: Well-bred mare who showed good ability in only three starts, good chance at value here.
Race 1: 1st: 3 Quantum Time: He was very good last preparation, forgive last start when caught on the worst part of the track, looks very well suited here. 2nd: 7 Balonne: Consistent without winning, gets his best chance here. 3rd: 1 Emerald Fortune: Looks to peak third up here, good weight carrier with a great chance. 4th: 5 Palamedes.
Race 2: 1st: 1 Monte Majura: First try at this trip but in top form, and very hard to beat here. 2nd: Fiscal Policy. Both runs this preparation first class and will be prominent from ideal draw here. 3rd: 5 Bella Deluxe. Forget last run she is well-suited with good speed engaged, she will be strong late. 4th: 3 Badge of Gameness.
Race 3: 1st: 8 Wyendra. Smart mare resuming off long break. Very hard to beat if ready. 2nd: 4 Away She Goes. Very consistent last time in, good chance from ideal draw. 3rd: 1 Harvest Dream. Resumed from long break last time when in need of the run, sharp improver here. 4th: 3 Secret Diamond.
Race 4: 1st: 2 Assault'n'Bathory. Placed three of six and only needs to bring his best behaviour to beat these. 2nd: 3 Aurora Run. Nice mare resuming from seven-month break, showed good potential when last in work. 3rd: 10 Miss Bitola. Showed good speed first-up when looked in need of the run, will improve here. 4th: 4 Spanish Rain.
Race 5: 1st: 14 Tycoon Tily. Showed good speed first-up at Moruya, should be fitter and her experience will be vital here. 2nd: 13 Persepolis. Two-year-old filly on debut from very good yard, has trialled well. 3rd: 1 Shipway. Former Victorian placed in both runs, resuming from long break and widely drawn. 4th: 6 Pisa My Heart.
Race 6: 1st: 4 Jeddah Aheadah. Both runs for new yard first class for this, gets to her favourite trip and looks the winner. 2nd: 6 Whiskey'n'Diamonds. No luck last couple and finds a nice race here if he runs the trip. 3rd: 5 Isadora Twinkle. Three runs this preparation in unsuitable races, gets to the right distance today. 4th: 1 Badge of Gameness.
Race 7: 1st: 8 Star Of The Clan. Smart mare resuming here, ideally drawn and will look the winner everywhere. 2nd: 6 Dangerous Breeding. Fit mare in top form. Loves this track and distance, a must for exotics. 3rd: 7 Nobody's Puppet. Speedy mare who has missed the placings once in seven starts. Will be prominent throughout. 4th: 2 Kooringal Star.
Race 8: 1st: 4 Pinetti. Very consistent and likes this trip, ideally drawn and hard to beat here. 2nd: 2 Ethanicity. Consistent place-getter, well drawn and close to another win. 3rd: 1 Denver. Forgive last start, previous form good enough to be prominent here. 4th: 3 Future Time.