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Four-year-old Sonntag has only had one start this season so will need to rely on a jump-out at Sandown on Tuesday to prepare him for the Group 3 Eclipse Stakes (1800m) on Saturday, his final target in a light spring campaign.
The 2014 Eclipse Stakes is one of nine black-type races running at Sandown this weekend, marking the final day of the spring racing carnival.
Sonntag is one of 17 potential stayers nominated for the race, and one of the best. The gelding hasn’t finished outside the first three since August 2013 and has won his last three races in a row including the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) during the Brisbane Winter Carnival in June.
After four months off the field, Sonntag returned for the Listed Sale Cup (1600m) on October 26, winning just under half a length clear of Lightenuff. He’ll aim to continue this winning streak in the Eclipse Stakes on Saturday, with Derby winning hoop Chad Schofield back in the saddle.
A light spring campaign with just two starts was always the plan for Sonntag with trainer Henry Dwyer looking toward a major target during the autumn – the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) on April 18.
“It was always going to be the Sale Cup into the Eclipse and then back to the paddock and set him for the Sydney Cup in the autumn,” Dwyer told Sky Racing.
“I just think you want them to get to their main target in the best possible condition. So to get there (to the 2015 Sydney Cup) in the best nick I think the best scenario was to have a light spring and have a bit more time in the paddock.”
Dwyer was thrilled with Sonntag’s first-up effort in the 2014 Sale Cup and he is in good form for the Eclipse Stakes on Saturday.
“He always feels his racing a bit because he tries really hard,” the trainer said.
“In that race first-up over a mile with a big weight, it took a bit out of him but he bounced back to himself within a few days and has had a pretty easy time of it for the last fortnight.
“We’ll give him a little jump-out in the morning at Sandown over 800 metres just to have him back to where he should be to go to the races.”
Sonntag carried a top weight of 58.5kg in the Sale Cup, which he has again in the Eclipse.
The four-year-old will get a jump-out preparation on the course proper Tuesday morning.
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