Unable to break through for a race win since taking out the 2013 edition of the Group 1 South Australian Derby (2500m) 18 months ago, trainer Matt Laurie is confident this afternoon’s Group 3 Eclipse Stakes (1800m) at Sandown figures as the perfect race for Escado to return to the winner’s circle.
Securing three wins and a further six minor places over his 25 competitive starts so far, Escado returned to racing for fourth in the Listed Sofitel (1400m) on September 13th before placing sixth in the Listed Tavern Stakes (1400m), a credible seventh in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) and sixth in the Group 1 Emirate Stakes (1600m) last weekend.
A proven performer over the distance, Laurie has been thrilled with the form and class displayed by the Casino Prince gelding this time in and revealed he will instruct jockey Stephen Baster to settle the five-year-old off pace.
“In my opinion he lets down better when he’s ridden midfield or worse,” Laurie told Racing Victoria.
“He was closer in the Toorak and don’t get me wrong he went excellent, but I think he’s got a better finish on him when he’s allowed to find his feet early.
“He’s not really a winner but he couldn’t be running any better and you’d like to think that finishing three lengths off them in the Emirates would hold him in good stead for tomorrow (Saturday).
“The idea this campaign is to keep him fresher and keep his work shorter and I’ve really tried to look after him.
“I’m not saying I won’t get him back out over further but I think I’d rather just let him race his way to that point than have to do more work on the training track.”
Unlucky to be injured during the running of the Listed Andrew Ramsden Stakes (3200m) following his South Australian Derby victory in 2013, Escado was unable to make much of an impact over six starts through autumn this year; returning to the paddock after finishing seventh in the Listed Port Adelaide Cup (2500m) on May 10th.
Allocated the wide barrier 12 for this afternoon’s Group 3, Escado is currently available at odds of $5.50 for success or $2.20 to figure in the places with leading online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au.
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