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While yet to secure much of a consistent run of form over six starts through the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival, trainer Peter Gelagotis is confident the conditions of Saturday’s Listed Ballarat Cup (2200m) offer classy five-year-old Hvasstan the ideal opportunity for a return to the winner’s circle.
Placing a close second to stable mate Mourinho in a minor over 1500m first-up on August 23rd, Hvasstan failed to beat a single runner home in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) on September 6th, and while appearing to be back on track when sixth in the Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) at Moonee Valley, again failed to fire when finishing a disappointing eleventh in the Moe Cup (2050m).
Having since placed sixth behind the likes of Pheidon and Extra Zero in the City Jeep Handicap (2040m) and fourth in the Secondbite Plate (2000m), Gelagotis is confident the form displayed by the Fastnet Rock entire in the lead-up to the Ballarat Cup points towards a competitive tilt and great chance of success.
“Hvasstan has been out of sorts here and there, but I just felt his last couple of runs he has been building up to this,” Gelagotis told the Herald Sun.
“His run two starts ago at Moonee Valley, which Pheidon won, there was no pace, he missed the kick, but his mid-race sectionals were good and he lost by three lengths. It was a nice run.
“The he went to Flemington and the track was a but firmish for him, but he let down good and while he was held up a long way, I loved the way he got out and his last 50m was the best when he really wanted to hit the line in a race that was red-hot leader bias.
“We all know what he is capable of and I’ve got a good feeling about it.”
Securing a credible record of four race wins and as many minor places from his 30 competitive appearances on course so far, Hvasstan arguably hit peak condition over the 2013 autumn carnival; running fourth in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) and sixth behind the likes of It’s A Dundeel in the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) most notably.
A final field and barrier draw for the 2014 Ballarat Cup is due to be completed at released by midday, Wednesday.
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