Talented sprinter Lord Of The Sky almost posted one of the Autumn Carnival’s biggest upsets when running an agonizingly-close second to Chautauqua in the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) last week and appears likely to progress to the featured Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) in Brisbane on June 6th.
Jumping from the gates well, jockey Damien Oliver immediately led Lord Of The Sky towards the fore of the T.J. Smith Stakes field of ten, setting a noticeably quick tempo.
Offered a clear racing line upon rounding onto the final straight, the Danerich entire charged clear of the main pack and appeared to be on track for a maiden win at the highest level but was hunted down by the leading Team Hawkes sprinter in the final 50 metres; running second by the bob of a head in a photo finish.
Understandably pleased with Lord Of The Sky’s performance despite dropping the win, trainer Robbie Laing told The Courier Mail he is confident the conditions of the Stradbroke Handicap; contested over 1350m at Doomben this year will play directly into his runner’s strengths and is considering saddling the four-year-old in the race as a next point of call.
“I might throw all my eggs into the Stradbroke basket,” Laing said.
“Ideally I would like to keep him home and fly him up the night before but if that’s not possible, I will take him up to Paul Messara’s place (Scone) and leave him there.
“If you can run 1200m at Randwick, he will get 1350m around Doomben.
“Damien said it was only losing concentration that cost him in the T.J. He had a big enough break with 50m to go but he caught sight of the winning post and just lost it a bit.
“Prior to that he had done all the hard work and was left on his own.”
Lord Of The Sky has so-far claimed five race wins and finished in the minor places a further four times through 17 career starts; finding exceptional form this time in placing second in each of the Listed Christmas Stakes (1200m) and Group 3 Standish Handicap (1200m) and running a credible fourth in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) most notably leading into the T.J. Smith Stakes.
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