Two-year-old colt Bantam will get a chance to atone for his misstep in the Group 3 Maribyrnong Plate (1000m) last time out this Saturday as he runs for just the second time of his career in the ADAPT Australia Handicap (1000m) at Moonee Valley.
The colt’s trainer John O’Shea will also get the chance to figure out if Bantam is a potential Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) contender or not.
“Saturday will tell us whether we are aiming a little too high or whether he’s a legitimate chance of competing in one of the Diamond lead-ups,” O’Shea told TVN.
Bantam was the $2.60 favourite heading into the Maribyrnong Plate but finished four lengths off the winner Prompt Return in fifth place. The colt jumped well from a middle alley up the centre track. He was left exposed a long way out by himself and just battled away. He was vetted following the race but no abnormalities were found.
“He’s a horse of some ability and I felt he wasn’t afforded a true opportunity to show his ability the day he ran,” O’Shea said.
“We elected to come down the grandstand side and it was definitely a mistake.
“We want to give him another run. He’s come through his first start well and we wanted to give him the chance to run around a bend.”
The colt is once again favourite ahead of Saturday’s race, paying $3 at Ladbrokes.com.au ahead of Palace Tycoon ($3.40). However, O’Shea is confident he won’t succumb to the favourite’s hoodoo this time out.
Perhaps the trainer is eyeing a run in the Group 3 Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m) for Bantam on Valentine’s Day, which is the major lead-up race for the $1 million Blue Diamond Stakes on February 28 at Caulfield.
Previous winners have also come via the LR Talinbert Stakes (1000m) at Flemington or the Moonee Valley 1000m sprint race three weeks prior so O’Shea has a few different lead-up races to choose from.
Bantam has everything going for him ahead of the 2014 ADAPT Australia Handicap, jumping from barrier three with Chad Schofield in the saddle.
Back the colt at Ladbrokes.com.au today and you’ll receive up to $100 in a bonus match on your first bet.