Luke Oliver has high hopes for his three-year-old colt Zeletto in the autumn, constructing a program entirely around the $500,000 Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 8.
Zeletto has yet to run beyond 1100m but Oliver is keen to test him at the mile after 10 weeks off.
“We’ll certainly be trying to test him at the higher level and potentially be stepping up in trip as well,” Oliver told Racing Victoria.
“We’ll certainly throw in a nom for a race like the Australian Guineas and give him his chance to see if he can run a mile.”
The colt won his maiden on debut in The Park Hotel 2YO Maiden Plate (1010m) at Werribee on June 15, smashing his competition in a five length victory. He then finished runner-up in the Ascend Sales Trophies Handicap (1100m) at Caulfield the following month, missing out on the win by just half a length.
He returned to the winner’s circle in September during a Benchmark 70 over 1000m at Sandown before his biggest test in the Pancare Foundation Plate (1000m) on Underwood Stakes Day. The colt was odds-on favourite to win the race, paying $1.65 at Ladbrokes.com.au, but could only manage a minor placing.
It was later revealed that Zeletto injured himself in the race and he had 10 weeks off to heal.
“He pulled up very sore from that,” Oliver said.
“But he had 10 weeks off, which was more than what the vets recommended, so he comes back brand new.”
It has not deterred Oliver from his grand aspirations with the colt, who returned to pre-training on Monday. He is set to return to the stables at the beginning of next month, with a return marked for late-January.
“He’ll come back into the stables around the 1st of January,” the trainer said.
“We’ll hope to get him to the races by the end of January, which gives you a chance to be racing in those sorts of races (like the Guineas).”
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