Connections of exciting Canberra-based stayer Coliseo are hoping the galloper will continue to produce the way they did at home last weekend as they consider a trip to Royal Randwick for the 2013 Sydney Cup on April 27.
Norm Gardner’s Arena six-year-old, winner of the Wagga Wagga Cup last May, enjoyed a nice run third-up last Sunday coming within a long neck of Court Connection when second in the Listed Canberra Centenary Cup (2000m) rewarding their trainer’s change of tactics this autumn after their Canberra Cup third last year.
“Last year the Cup was his eighth run for the preparation, I deliberately went into the race third up this time in, I knew I had exactly where I wanted him,” Gardner said.
A $42,500 purchase from the 2008 William Inglis and Son Classic Yearling Sales, Coliseo has now won over $230,000 in prize money – a figure that would grow by leaps and bounds should they go on to score a surprise win in the $500,000 Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at the end of next month during the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
“We really didn’t know what we had last preparation because he had only been racing around Goulburn and down the Sapphire Coast,” Gardner said.
“He just kept improving out of sight.
“Heading into this preparation we knew we had a Listed class horse.
“He came back with a Benchmark rating of 90 so the trouble we had was trying to find the right races for him.”
Coliseo is yet to race over further than 2400m but Gardner believes they could be competitive over the two miles of the Sydney Cup where they would face a field of ace Sydney and Melbourne stayers having pulled through their brave second last weekend.
“This is his first preparation that he has had without any problems,” he said.
“Every other preparation he has always had underlying issues and this is the first time he’s come back unscathed.
“It was an excellent performance on Sunday he went super.
“He’s pulled up enormous and you wouldn’t even know he had run in the Cup.
“He did a bit of pace work on Thursday morning and was as bright as anything.
“Now he is over his issues I can actually work him and I think we are going to see an even more improved horse this time in.
“I’ve got no problems stepping him up in trip in the future, he relaxes so well and just lobs along at his own leisure.”
It has been a much better prep this time in for the horse who had just one unplaced run at Rosehill during the spring after which they spent over five months spelling.
“He simply didn’t come up in the spring,” Gardner said.
“I trialled him and wasn’t all that happy, he didn’t look very good in the coat and after his first run I just had to tip him out.
“He had a long campaign and we only gave him a month off in the middle of Winter, in hindsight I probably should have kept him out without a run.”
Gardner is now looking at the $170,000 Listed Albury Gold Cup (2000m) on March 22 for Coliseo’s next start before progressing onto the $100,000 Group 3 Neville Sellwood Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on Golden Slipper Day and then the $175,000 Group 2 Chairman’s Handicap (2600m) at Royal Randwick on April 13 which could lead into the Sydney Cup 2013 a fortnight later all going well.
“At this stage we are going to head to Albury for the Cup and then on towards the Neville Sellwood Stakes,” Gardner said.
“If he keeps going well I’d like to step him in trip and back him in the Chairman’s Handicap and we’ll just see how we go from there.
“Depending how well he is travelling we could push on to the Sydney Cup.”
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