After having his return run delayed when not accepted for the Canterbury Classic earlier in the month, Lionel Cohen’s promising Encosta De Lago three-year-old Aeronautical will race first-up at Rosehill Racecourse this Saturday ahead of the 2012 Sydney & Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnivals.
The gelding is engaged to race in the open-age $70,000 Hall Chadwick Handicap (1100m), running as Rosehill Race 5 at 3:5pm (NSW time).
The youngster is the clear $3.10 favourite in the Luxbet markets, having eased out from their opening price of $2.80, despite their barrier eight of 10 draw.
“Barrier eight of 10, we have to work out what we do because that obviously plays a role,” Cohen said.
“He’s never had a good barrier.”
To date Aeronautical has started six times for two victories, the most notable of which was an impressive three and a half length win in the Listed The Rosebud (1200m) at Randwick last August.
Going out as one of the top fancies in the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) next start, Aeronuatical was just off the season’s best performing three-year-olds when finishing sixth of sixth, beaten five and a half lengths by Manawanui.
They finished dead last again at their most recent run, but again it was a small and select field of just five horses with just one and a half lengths separating the winner Foxwedge and Aeronautical in the Group 2 Roman Consul Stakes (1200m) on October 1.
Aeronautical showed they were ready to get back to race conditions on January 6 when winning a 900-metre Rosehill trial, pulling through that hitout well.
“I expect a big run,” Cohen said.
“The question mark for him is how the three-year-olds fare up against the older horses.
“That’s the only thing that’s hard but then, if he is Group 1 material, you expect them to perform well.”
Another query is how they will go being ridden by Corey Brown for the first time.
Nathan Berry was the regular rider on Aeronautical last season aboard for their four most recent runs, and both of their wins, but has been replaced by Brown for Saturday.
“I just wanted a change,” Cohen said of the jockey switch.
“I want to see him a bit closer to the pace, things like that.
“Besides experience, the fact he’s (Brown is) an older jockey, it was nothing personal.
“We have been able to get Corey Brown to take the ride, which is a big bonus if he (Aeronautical) continues on towards the bigger three-year-old races.”
Earlier this week Cohen threw in a nomination for Aeronautical in the $2 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile Handicap (1600m) at Randwick on April 21.
While an ambitious aim, Cohen hopes Aeronautical will show good improvement earlier during the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival and get a shot at the lucrative mile showdown.
His more immediate elite level aims could include the $750,000 Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 3 and the $500,000 Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) back in Sydney a fortnight later.
“In my mind I’m hoping (he will get the mile), but while his last two runs were good they weren’t good enough,” Cohen admitted.
“I’ve got that in the back of my mind.”
View the full Rosehill race odds for this Saturday’s meeting, including those for the day’s headline event – the 2012 Inglis Classic, at Luxbet now.