Warwick Farm trainer Jarrod Austin is confident his recent stable acquisition Territory can progress from their last start when debuting for their new trainer with a big run in the 2013 Canterbury BMW Classic on Friday night.
Formerly prepared by Lee Freedman and then Nick Koutsourakis in Melbourne, five-year-old Lonhro gelding Territory joined Austin’s Sydney stables late last year and had their first run for him at their new local track Warwick Farm on January 5.
In the Benchmark 80 over 1000m Territory put in a lovely run and crossed less than half a length away second behind Peter Snowden’s up-and-coming colt, also by Lonhro, Sessions who set a new track record winning in a blistering 56.23 seconds.
Originally Sessions was accepted to back up in Friday’s $100,000 Listed Canterbury BMW Classic (1100m) along with Territory, the three-year-old the early favourite.
An inflammation to their testicle however has forced the top elect to withdraw leaving Territory to face seven rivals.
Originally one of the outsiders in the markets paying $16, the rails-drawn Territory has received plenty of recent support and is now right into $9.
Still, they remain the third longest-priced hopeful in a market led by the reigning Canterbury Classic winner Unanimously ($3.60) and will have to be at their best tonight.
It has been a long time between drinks for the former crack three-year-old who hasn’t won a race since the Listed Doncaster Stakes (1400m) back in October of 2010, but Austin believes they are getting back in form now.
“He seems to be back on track now,” Austin said.
One thing Austin is sure will work in his horse’s favour tonight is the likely hot pace that is expected to be set by front-running speedsters Didntcostalot and Uate.
“There will be plenty of speed on and I’m hoping he can hold his position on the rail behind them and not get shuffled back,” Austin said.
“If he can he’ll finish the race off just as well as anything. We just don’t want to be giving them too much start coming to the corner.”
Also out to break a lengthy winning drought is the Rick Worthington-trained veteran Whitefirars ($6.50), the 61kg top-weight having won the Group 2 Australia Stakes on this night in Melbourne two years ago.
“He’s obviously a quality horse and he’s got the weight to carry because he’s got better performances than the rest, albeit not of late,” jockey Glyn Schofield said.
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