Victoria’s Darren Weir has one sole survivor vying for a Group 1 win this Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival with Lonhspresso still on track for a 2014 Tattersall’s Tiara win but stable mate Akzar having been sent to the paddock.
Weir put veteran stayer Akzar on a truck home on Monday after the seven-year-olds’ failed Group 2 Eagle Farm Cup (2200m) run over the weekend.
The revived galloper, formerly prepared by Lloyd Williams, has been in career best form this season including a big six length Warnambool Cup victory in the mud at the start of May where they worked their way from the back of the pack to win.
They also ran a brave fourth behind Streama in the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) when beaten just over two lengths before their Eagle Farm Cup run.
Akzar failed to keep up the form however when fifth to Chris Waller’s impressive winner Moriarty who looks in perfect form for their title defense in this weekend’s Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2400m).
While beaten under three lengths, it was a performance from the short-priced $2.80 favourite that showed Weir Akzar was done for this prep.
“He was very one paced,” Weir told RSN’s Correct Weight on Sunday.
“It’s hard to set horses for every race, but he was set for Warrnambool and then he went so well there that Brisbane was another option.
“It didn’t work out as we’d hoped. He didn’t run badly, he was just pretty one paced. He’s on a truck home.”
He now has 100 percent of his attention focused on Lonhro mare Lonhspresso, the four-year-old shaping up for their shot at the $500,000 Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 21.
A winner of four of her 10 starts the lightly-raced mare was last seen storming home down the 1200m at Flemington on May 24 when overcoming a wide draw to win the Listed The Straight Six.
She’ll next contest the $100,000 Golden Topaz (1200m) at Swan Hill this Friday after Weir’s decision not to take her to Brisbane early for the $200,000 Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes (1400m) on Stradbroke Handicap Day this Saturday.
“Lonhspresso’s going well, she’ll run again next Friday in the Golden Topaz,” Weir said.
His decision to stay at home and not target the Dane Ripper as well was because Lonhspresso needs the beach training at Warrnambool to perform at her best.
“She’s certainly one that’s got to be trained at the beach,” he said.
“She’s got a few soundness issues so it’d be nice to be up there and run in the Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes (1400m) a fortnight before, but the training facilities up there are not quite as good as the beach we’ve got here, so we took the option of going to the Topaz and then going up after that.
“The Golden Topaz should have her in spot on order I would have thought.”
This year’s Golden Topaz attracted 39 nominations yesterday with Lonhspresso one of the headline entries.
Other notable nominees include the Mick Price-trained The Straight Six runner-up Le Bonsir, Ken Sweeney’s Group 1 The Goodwood third placegetter Riziz out to atone for their 10th in the Straight Six and Matthew Dale’s in-form Canberra raider Unanimously.
Weir meanwhile has also nominated for three other hopes in Anlon coming off a fourth in the Wangoom Handicap from the end of April, Wangoom Handicap runner-up Blackie and seven-year-old Broken.
He’s looking though for a good run from Lonhspresso ahead of her likely Group 1 assignment in Queensland.
“Hopefully she gets through that well,” Weir said of the Golden Topaz.
“The plan all along has been the Tatt’s Tiara. Obviously with the way she ran last-start she seems to be on track, but we’ll get through Swan Hill and hopefully head on up there.
“The plan was always to get another run in to her before we go, so this run at Swan Hill fits in the program well.”
Tattersall’s Tiara 2014 nominations close on June 16 and will be published right here at Races.com.au followed by the final field two days later.
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