Warrnambool trainer Matthew Williams is bullish over the chances his Choisir gelding Uxorious has of securing their third win on the trot this Saturday, the five-year-old accepted for the Sir John Monash Stakes at Caulfield.
The $100,000 Listed Sir John Monash Stakes (1100m) attracted a diminutive but classy final field of just eight sprinters this year, Uxorious sure to be one of the top fancies after coming up trumps with barrier one.
Due to be ridden by regular rider Dean Yendall, Uxorious is undefeated this prep.
Taking their record up to six wins from 11 starts, Uxorious has won back-to-back races including the Listed Wangoom Handicap (1200m) on May 4.
Last start they defeated a quality field at Swan Hill on June 10 in the Golden Topaz Stakes (1200m) despite losing a plate and striking interference in the run.
Saturday’s Monash Stakes will be Uxorious’s fourth black-type assignment, the galloper having finished sixth to Elusive Touch in the Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) at Flemington last August and sixth again, this time to boom sprinter Hay List in the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) last October before their Listed win this prep.
Williams has had Uxorious heading towards the Sir John Monash Stakes since their success in the Wangoom Handicap and believes the horse, who is plagued by ongoing knee issues, is up to the task as they come into the race fresh off a five-week break.
“This is his biggest test but I think he is up to it,” Williams said.
“It works good for him having that break between runs because of his knees.
“After the Topaz he had 10 or 12 days at the beach just wading in the water and building up again.
“He’s had two pretty solid hitouts on the course proper and fitness-wise he will be a bit better than he was in the Topaz.
“We couldn’t get him any better.”
Despite their niggling knee issues, Uxorious has finished out of the money just three times earning over $210,000 in prize money to date, and Williams believes they are a genuine racehorse that always puts in 110 per cent.
“He is so honest, always tries his guts out and never runs a bad race,” Williams said.
“The issues he has got with his knees, most horses would be looking after themselves, but he is happy to run through that pain barrier.”
The two Sir John Monash Stakes rivals that Williams tips as the biggest dangers on Saturday are Lightning Stakes placegetter Warm Love and well-tried Hussonet gelding Gold Trail.
“Our aim was to be the fit horse going into the race,” Williams said.
David Brideoake’s talented Octagonal filly Warm Love is resuming after five month spell, before which she came within five lengths of undefeated turf queen Black Caviar when third in the Group 1 Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on February 19.
“There is a really nice bunch of races ahead for her,” Brideoake said in regards to Warm Love’s upcoming spring campaign.
“She was fabulous in the autumn and the horse herself is a lot better to train now.
“She is really relaxed and her pedigree would suggest she will improve.”
The Gary Portelli-trained Gold Trail is also first-up, his most recent run being a close fourth to Gundy Son in the Listed Chief De Beers (1100m) at Doomben in May.
That was the six-year-old’s first run since returning from an overseas campaign last year that produced a gallant fourth to Green Birdie in the Group 1 Krisflyer International Sprint (1200m) in Singapore and a 10th place finish behind Equiano in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes (10005m) at Ascot.