Undoubtedly facing his biggest racing test to date when lining up at Sandown this afternoon, trainer Mick Huxtable is confident unbeaten three-year-old Lord Aspen is more than capable of continuing his impressive career start in the Group 2 Sandown Guineas (1600m).
A standout performer in three minor events in his native South Australia, Lord Aspen floated to Victoria to contest the Listed Hilton Hotels Stakes (1400m) on Stakes Day last weekend and successfully completed the transition to black type racing when finding the line half a length in the clear of closest rival Orient Line.
Allocated the ideal barrier 6 for his maiden tilt in Group-level company this afternoon, Huxtable conceded the step-up to 1600m and Group 2 status is a big ask, but is confident the Good Journey gelding’s recent form and work points towards a successful performance.
“He’s super, very well,” Huxtable told AAP.
“I think he’s come on since last week, but he’d need to also. He’s tightened up that little bit and looks beautiful.
“From the barrier hopefully he’ll be running fourth or fifth, but at Sandown that last little bit finds you out if you get there too early, so Matthew (Neilson, jockey) will have to be careful with that.
“This is no doubt his acid test. I’ve said before that if everything fell into place we’d end up here, and here we are.”
Charging home to win the K Brereton Jewellers Plate (1050m) by six lengths on debut in June, Lord Aspen immediately returned to the paddock for a brief spell; returning to the racing for a comfortable win in both the Adelaide Galvanising 3.y.o (1200m) and Master Builders 3.y.o (1400m) leading into his Hilton Hotels Stakes triumph.
Undoubtedly needing to find an extra gear to overcome the likes of Stratum Star, Careless and Rekindled Power this afternoon, Lord Aspen has so-far received the greatest market share of attention from punters; cutting in from an opening quote of $5 for success to currently rest at a quote of $4.40 with Ladbrokes.com.au.
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