A run under the lights at Moonee Valley Racecourse this Friday night could be the latest warm up run for Lionel Cohen’s Standish Handicap 2015-bound galloper Aeronautical.
The Rosehill-based Cohen is tossing up whether to make a last minute trip to Melbourne to run his Encoasta De Lago six-year-old in an $80,000 handicap on Friday night to escape the muggy Sydney weather and wet tracks at home.
It has been horror weather for racing over most of New South Wales over the past couple of weeks with heavy rainfall and wild storms leading to bog tracks across the state.
Cohen then is one of a host of trainers considering interstate runs to keep his galloper ticking over ahead of bigger summer racing carnival aims.
The 1200m Moonee Valley handicap was originally scheduled to run down the Flemington straight but was transferred so renovations at Victoria’s premier course could be completed.
Aeronautical is a likely runner at Flemington on New Year’s Day in the $150,000 Group 3 Standish Handicap (1200m), and so an early run at Moonee Valley this weekend could actually work in the horse’s favour.
It has been a long time between drinks for Aeronautical who hasn’t won a race since the Listed Razor Sharp Handicap (1150m) at Randwick’s Kensington track exactly a year ago.
That was the race Cohen admits he would have preferred to be running the defending champ in again this weekend, but that the Heavy-tracks in Sydney would spell disaster for him.
Since then his form has been very hit and miss, his most recent effort being a sixth when making up late ground behind Our Boy Malachi in the Listed Starlight Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill on November 29.
That’s an effort Cohen is hoping he can improve on getting out over 1200m again for the first time since his third behind Hot Snitzel in the Group 3 Hall Mark Stakes (1200m) back in April.
Aeronautical is certainly capable of a classy run on his day having been Group 1 placed when third behind Shamexpress and Moment Of Change in the Newmarket Handicap in March last year.
Helping get him back into the winners’ stall should he run on Friday night will be champion jockey Damien Oliver who Cohen has on standby for the ride.
Other 2015 Standish Handicap hopefuls for next year’s first Group race in Melbourne include the Lee Freedman-trained MSS Security Stakes winner from Melbourne Cup Day Reparations and Exceed And Excel four-year-old Thermal Current from the stables of Peter Moody.
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