Dedicated Victorian trainer Leon Corstens will be watching today’s Flemington race meeting from hospital and is hoping a good showing from his two outside chances in the feature event of the day can help him gain the strength to get back to business.
Kyneton-based Corstens, awaiting surgery scheduled for next week, has two from his stables lining up in the $125,000 Listed A.R. Creswick Stakes (1200m) at Flemington’s Saturday meet, with JohnnyDrama and Rock Me Sweet.
Johnnydrama, to be ridden by apprentice hoop Ashley Thompson, is one of the $51 roughies in this year’s Creswick Stakes showdown after the consistent galloper came up with a horror barrier 17 of 18 draw.
A well-bred Lonhro gelding, Johnnydrama has shown good improvement this prep having won a 1000m handicap at Ballarat on May 12 before their last start third to Dark Valley at Geelong.
“His last run was very good and he seems to be settling more than he was earlier in his career,” Corsten’s stable foreman Gary Gibb said.
Rock Me Sweet is more fancied in the markets currently paying $15 to upset race favourites the Mark Kavanagh-trained Liveandletdie ($5) and Canberra raider Unanimously ($6), the Fastnet Rock filly set to start from barrier 10.
At her only run this year, Rock Me Sweet ran an eye-catching third beaten less than a length by Enzed Girl in a three-year-old fillies race over 1200m at Flemington on May 7, and will be looking to race competitively against an open field today.
“Rock Me Sweet has always shown a bit of ability and she deserves a crack at a Listed race,” Gibb said.
“She is going very nicely and she wasn’t beaten far behind Enzed Girl and Royal Bender at Flemington.
“The straight and the 1200 metres suit her.”
Gibb believes despite their generous odds, both horses are a genuine chance for an A.R. Crewsick Stakes upset today, which would top off an exciting week for the team.
“We’ve had a good week and it would be a very good tonic for Leon if one of his runners could win for him at Flemington,” Gibb said.
The “good week” Gibb refers to is the five winners Corsten’s stable have saddled up, including a treble at Geelong last Tuesday followed by a win at Moonee Valley by Power Plant on Wednesday and the Swan Hill success by Sneaky Tsu on Friday.
Three of these five winners were ridden by Steven King, who will look to keep the good luck rolling aboard Rock Me Sweet in the Creswick.
The 2011 A.R. Creswick Stakes runs as Flemington Race 6 at 2:48pm (AEST) time today.