Darren Weir will saddle eight-year-old gelding Akzar in the Listed Lord Stakes (1600m) at Sandown Racecourse on Boxing Day, otherwise known as the Master Yearlings Heat 2 Stakes.
10 classy gallopers are set to tackle the mile on Friday after both Full Hand and Saint Or Sinner were scratched from the race on Wednesday.
Akzar is an $11 chance in the Lord Stakes betting market at Ladbrokes.com.au and will be making his first start this campaign on Saturday after six months on the sidelines.
The gelding joined Weir’s stables at the beginning of the year and has so far delivered the trainer four wins, including in the Listed Warrnambool Cup (2350m), before narrowly missing the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) and Group 2 Eagle Farm Cup (2200m) at Brisbane during the winter. The trainer claims Akzar is the biggest and strongest he’s ever been.
He will be aimed towards the Group 2 Adelaide Cup (3200m) during the autumn via the Group 3 Lord Reims Stakes (2600m), both at Morphettville, following the 2014 Lord Stakes.
“He’s the biggest and strongest he’s been since I’ve had him, whether that means he’ll be any better I’m not sure, but he looks great,” Weir told Racing Victoria.
“He’s had three jumpouts and they haven’t been great but he’s been finishing off OK and he’s ready to kick off his campaign.
“He’s heading towards the Adelaide Cup. I think Lord Reims Stakes (2600m) is probably a more suitable race for him but if he ran well in that you’d push on to the Adelaide Cup.”
The Mick Price-trained Mighty Like is favourite to win the Lord Stakes at $4.20 after claiming back-to-back Handicap wins first up while Mouro is hot on his heels at $4.60.
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