Connections of the lightly-raced Salade are eyeing off the 2012 Newmarket Handicap at the famous Flemington Racecourseon March 10 as the autumn grand final goal for the very promising colt.
During their two-year-old season last year, when under the preparation of maestro trainer Bart Cummings, the nicely-bred son of Snitzel out of Beautiful Crown mare Just As Beautiful was at one time topping the Luxbet markets for the iconic Golden Slipper showdown thanks to a blistering win on debut.
Following a successful trial at Rosehill two weeks prior, Salade went first-up into the Group 2 Pago Pago Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill and beat a smart field by an easy two and a half lengths in good time.
Their greenness got the better of them next start, however, when they finished five and a half lengths away fifth to superstar Sepoy in the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) on April 2, failing to become the first Golden Slipper winner in history to do so at just their second career start.
Salade was sent straight to the paddock following the Slipper where they have been overcoming a ligament injury.
The horse is now trained by the Wollongong-based Gwenda Markwell having been transferred from Cummings’ stables during the spring.
Showing promise of a good three-year-old campaign to come Salade ran in their first official trial of the year back on January 27 at Randwick, jockey Jim Cassidy guiding them to a long-neck away second to the John O’Shea-trained Coolmore Stud Stakes runner-up Foxwedge in the 855m hitout.
“He trialled well, probably was a bit more forward than we thought having not raced for a while,” owner Matthew Sandblom said.
“He’s been at my farm since May last year, then I gave him a recovery prep for four weeks at Gwenda’s.
“I just thought he might have a better chance down there.”
Connections have named the $175,000 Group 2 Royal Sovereign Stakes (1200m) at Warwick Farm on February 18 as the likely resuming run for Salade where the horse will come face to face with a very tough field of fellow three-year-olds.
“Well probably give him another trial and might give him a first-up run in the Royal Sovereign in a couple of weeks’ time,” Sandblom said.
Other horses on track for a 2012 Royal Sovereign Stakes appearance include Golden Rose winner Manawanui and Peter Moody’s unbeaten gelding Moment Of Change.
If all goes to plan and Salade runs well early on, then they will become a genuine chance for the $1 million Group 1 Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m).
“If he went particularly well in that (the Royal Sovereign) we’d consider going down to Melbourne for the Newmarket,” Sandblom said.
“Otherwise we’d stick around Sydney and try and pick up a nice race with him somewhere along the line.”
Sandblom also said that because of the injury they had only recently overcome, Salade would be kept to the autumn sprints and would not be tested over middle-distance race at this stage.
“He had a little bit of an injury, a ligament injury,” he said.
“I think he’s recovered from that but probably the plan is to keep him to sprints even though he might handle a bit longer.
“That’s what’s on the agenda for him at the moment.”
In the futures Newmarket Handicap 2012 odds now open at Luxbet Salade is only rated a $51 chance.
If you fancy Salade to progress through the ranks well this season and consider them an upset chance in the 2012 Newmarket Handicap, then why not throw a dollar or two on them at Luxbet!