Perth horseman Dan Morton knows it’s a big ask for the internationally campaigned Scenic Blast to beat home the likes of Buffering and Beaded in the BTC Cup 2012 at Doomben on Saturday but the astute trainer wouldn’t put it past his rising eight-year-old.
The Scenic gelding has raced 23 times to date and boasts a trio of Group 1 wins, a record Morton hopes to add to in the $400,000 Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) this weekend
Having taken out the Lightning Stakes – Newmarket Handicap double in the summer – autumn season of 2009, Scenic Blast was sent overseas to race.
In their international debut they made history with a win in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes (1000m) at England’s Ascot Racecourse.
King’s Stands Stakes runner-up Fleeting Spirit got the better of them next start however when Scenic Blast finished a disappointing 10th in the 2009 July Cup.
Their next two runs were at elite level in Japan and Hong Kong respectively but they finished dead last in both having been plagued by setbacks and injury including bleeding and a throat problem.
They resumed racing in June 2010 running in the USA when fourth to My Summer Slew at Hollywood Park during a campaign spent under the preparation of John Shirreffs.
A second in the Group 1 Del Mar Bing Crosby Stakes followed along with two other third place finishes at Group 3 level in the USA.
They returned home to Australia for the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival last year only to encounter the freakish Black Caviar.
Scenic Blast had two spring runs against the undefeated mare, who shoots for her 21st straight career success in the 2012 The Goodwood in Adelaide this Saturday, running fourth in the Group 2 Schweppes Stakes at Moonee Valley and fifth in the Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic at Flemington beaten seven and a half lengths each time.
“We were actually pretty excited about how he was going, but it turns out he had a ballooning palate, which was hard to detect because there is no noise as an indicator, but it completely shut off his air passage,” Morton explained.
Given one more go around this season they came back on May 2 at Eagle Farm in the race that replaced a washed out Victory Stakes, the Coca-Cola Amatil.
Unsuited to the Heavy (8) track they did well to finish second albeit beaten seven lengths by the Rob Heathcote-trained Buffering.
“He was first-up at 1200-metres on a Heavy 8, he hadn’t trialled and he over-raced a bit,” Morton said.
“It was an encouraging effort.”
Mossman four-year-old Buffering also beat Scenic Blast home when they finished second to his fifth in the Patinack last Emirates Stakes Day, and they will again be their main rival in the BTC Cup this weekend.
While early BTC Cup betting favourite Buffering has eased out in their price after coming up with the disastrously wide barrier 14 of 15 for Saturday’s assignment, Scenic Blast came up trumps with the inside alley.
Shane Scriven rides the veteran and Morton hopes they can run a good race.
“Look, we are under no illusions … but he is well-placed on Saturday and we’re really happy with his progress,” Morton said of his 2008-09 Horse of the Year.
“As I said, we’ve been under no illusions, but we thought he was worth persevering with.”
BTC Cup odds on the final field will be re-released at the Australian-owned and operated online bookie bookmaker.com.au shortly.
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