Soft ground will be the key to success for Henwood in the Group 3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1200m) this Saturday, according to trainer John Sadler.
The 2014 Kevin Heffernan Stakes is one of six Group races running at Sandown this weekend, making up Zipping Classic Day – the final instalment of the 2014 spring racing carnival. 15 horses were nominated for the race on Monday, including Henwood, with the final field due to be released this morning.
Henwood was scratched from the final race at Flemington on Saturday after the track was upgraded to a Good 2 but with cut in the ground likely at Sandown this weekend, the Kevin Heffernan Stakes looks a-go.
“He actually got on the float and went to the races but the track got to a Good 2 and he does enjoy a little bit of cut in ground, so we decided to wait until Sandown,” Sadler told Racing Victoria.
“He’ll run in the 1300, probably as far as his best chance would be in the 1500 (Group 3 Sandown Stakes) but it would be a 1000 to 1500 and I don’t think he’s quite ready for the 1500.”
The six-year-old gelding enjoyed a soft jump-out over 800 metres at the course proper on Tuesday morning and Sadler is pleased with how he held his condition.
“I was really pleased with him (following his jump-out), he was here to get a really nice bit of ground to gallop on and it is beautiful here,” he said.
Henwood was second in the City Jeep Handicap (1000m) last time out at Moonee Valley on October 25. He couldn’t go the speed and drifted back at the beginning before managing to pick up at the 400m and flash during the last bit to get close to winner Eight Bills. This followed a win in the Wedrive Plate (1400m) and fifth place in the Sportingbet Handicap (1600m).
Sadler noted that the gelding has won over the Sandown course and distance previously, December 2012 in the Le Pine Funerals Handicap (1300m), and is confident he can win again on Saturday.
“He likes the place and he had a good blow out yesterday for Saturday,” he said.
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