Robbie Laing’s Group 1-bound colt Lord Of The Sky has opened short priced favourite to win their first Black Type trophy in the 2014 Sir John Monash Stakes this weekend.
The Danerich three-year-old is one of nine gallopers in the mix for this year’s $135,000 Group 3 Polytrack Sir John Monash Stakes (1100m), running as Caulfield Race 6 at 3:35pm on Saturday.
They are leading the Monash Stakes betting markets too at $2.20 as they step up in class.
Coming up trumps with the inside barrier, the progressive sprinter will be ridden by Dwayne Dunn for the first time here who replaces Kayla Nisbet in the saddle.
A winner of four of their seven starts to date, Lord Of The Sky comes off a one and a half length victory over 1000m at the track from May 17 and is gearing up for a Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival campaign.
They’ve had just the one stakes start to date when dead last in the Listed WJ Adams Stakes (1000m), an effort their Cranbourne-based trainer Laing is confident they can improve on so long as they handle the inside alley.
“I don’t know about him out of barrier one, I think that’s his biggest danger,” Laing told Racing Victoria.
Laing also said their next start would likely be in the $150,000 Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) on July 26.
It’s a wide open Monash Stakes market after Lord Of The Sky with four of their eight rivals also under double figures including the $5 second pick and market mover Riziz.
Ken Sweeney’s Adelaide-trained gelding was third to Smokin’ Joey in the Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) two back at home before their disappointing 10th in the Listed The Straight Six (1200m) at Flemington on May 24.
They had 60kg that day however and so will appreciate the weight-for-age conditions and drop back to 58.5kg on Saturday.
Mick Price’s Straight Six runner-up Le Bonsir and African Pulse then follow on $6, the latter having their first run since being gelded.
Drawn in barrier seven with Glen Boss to ride, the Michael Moroney-trained Johannesburg five-year-old African Pulse hasn’t raced since two lackluster Flemington floggings back in February and March.
They were 11th of 12 runners in the Group 1 Lighting Stakes (1000m) before their last start 10th in the Listed Boby Hoysted Stakes over the same distance on March 1 before undergoing their operation.
“He came off a pretty disappointing preparation, so we decided that chasing black-type with him as a stallion wasn’t going to make it,” Moroney said.
“He was racing very field-shy really which isn’t very like him. We started wondering whether he was trying 100% and decided to geld him.
“He’s had two jump outs since and has performed very well in both of them. He’s very forward for it and we’re really happy with him.”
Also boosting Moroney’s confidence is African Pulse’s good record at Caulfield where they’ve enjoyed two runs from five starts, and their outstanding first-up record of five wins from six starts.
“I’m always reasonably confident with him because we know he’s got real ability,” he said.
“He’s got such a good first up record, he likes wet ground and loves Caulfield, I think he’s in with a real chance.”
The last of the single figure chances is then the Peter Moody-trained six-year-old Ready To Rip at $8 who ran fifth in The Goodwood and seventh down the Flemington straight last time out.
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