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Dual Group One winner Slade Power is set to make his debut in Australian racing in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November; it will also be the horse’s final race before he begins his new career in Godolphin boss Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley Stud.
The Irish sprinter got his first look at the Flemington straight course in a jump-out on Tuesday morning after arriving in Melbourne on October 11. Slade Power spent two weeks in quarantine at Werribee before moving to Godolphin’s stables on Saturday. However, the track work did not go to plan.
Slade Power had not put a foot wrong since his arrival in Melbourne but had a mishap in the barrier this morning.
The horse was put through the stalls to familarise himself with the Australian starting process but became agitated when he was left in the barriers for longer than usual without his hood on.
“I’m led to believe that he went into stall no problem then the rider took the hood off and then the horse kicked out,” trainer Ed Lynam told racing.com from the Flemington stands, just moments after the jumpout.
“When he took the hood off he got upset. He didn’t get upset instantly, but he got upset a few seconds after the hood was removed. I don’t know, maybe he was fresh.”
The mishap didn’t affect Slade Power’s work however, as he covered the 800-metre run in just under 48 seconds, including a 23.06 second final 400 metres.
Lynam will now focus on ensuring the barrier trouble is not repeated on race day.
“We just have to go through it with the starter in Australia, because different countries have different rules and let’s hope we can get it right on the day in the gate,” he said.
“As the trainer, I’ve got to get my horse organised in the gates and after that he’s got to run like hell to beat your sprinters.”
Slade Power is a winner from his last two starts in Britain – both Group One – the Diamond Jubilee Stakes (1207m) and Darley July Cup (1207m). Travelling foreman Francis Kennedy doesn’t believe the Flemington 1200m course will pose any problems for the horse, especially after his gallop this morning.
“It’s sort of what he’s used to but it hasn’t got the undulations that Ascot and Newmarket have,” Kennedy told Sky Racing.
“It’s a nice wide open track but he’ll need to draw a good barrier and get around the speed and finish off.”
Slade Power is on the third line of betting at Ladbrokes.com.au to win the 2014 Darley Classic in his swan song at $5.50, led by Chautauqua ($2.70) and Lankan Rupee ($5).
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