Tonto Begins 2015 WA Derby Campaign

Three-year-old Tonto has returned to work in Western Australia following a short break since trainer Lou Luciani has plans to run the gelding in the $400,000 Group 2 WATC Derby (2400m) on April 11.

The promising gelding was a mainstay of many feature races in the recent Perth Summer Carnival. He won the Westspeed 3YO Handicap (1300m) and Festival Of Perth Racing Handicap (1400m) early in the season before running midfield in the Listed Fairetha Stakes (1400m), Group 2 WA Guineas (1600m), and Listed Aquanita Stakes (1800m).

Tonto missed out on placings in both the Fairetha Stakes and Aquanita Stakes by less than half a length and Luciani is confident he’ll improve in the autumn.

The trainer revealed to Perth Racing that Tonto was back in work on Wednesday morning. He also hinted that the gelding could make his return in the $100,000 Listed Lex Piper Stakes (1600m) at Ascot Racecourse on February 28, en route to the 2015 WATC Derby.

“He is back in work and he worked very well at Bunbury this morning,” Luciani said.

“He will be on a Derby campaign, so he can start in the Lex Piper Stakes over 1600 and we will see how many runs he needs.

“We have to be careful with him because he has only had a short let-up.”

Tonto missed out on the Aquanita Stakes last time out by less than two lengths. The gelding was near the end of the field at the 800 metre mark but improved from out wide within the final 600 metres, running on soundly under his top weight of 57.5kg.

The 2015 autumn racing carnivals are heating up with all the top horses from the spring returning to work in the coming weeks – even in Perth.

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