Local horseman Nigel Blackiston is looking forward to the run of Desert Jeuney in the latest heat of the All Victorian Sprint Series 2015 at Flemington Racecourse this weekend with the returning sprinter to target the black-type final next month.
Five-year-old Desert King gelding Desert Jeuney hasn’t officially raced since finishing dead last when 15th and walking home behind the winner Hucklebuck in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) over the Flemington mile last November during the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Before that the smart sprinter – miler ran third in both the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield behind Trust In A Gust and the Group 2 Crystal Mile (1600m) at Moonee Valley behind Hooked.
Blackiston is hoping he can make an immediate impression first-up on Saturday then in the $80,000 All Victorian Sprint Series Heat 8 (1100m), the handicap attracting a bumper 28 nominations with Desert Jeuney allocated the 60kg top weight.
The horse was set to resume at Moonee Valley last Saturday, and while he went around in the race he was ruled a non-official starter as the barrier attendant still had hold of the horse’s reins when the gates went up.
Blackiston is looking at that as a fitness exercise then ahead of the weekend, telling Racing Ahead on RSN the galloper had pulled through the run without an issue.
“He’s come through it great,” he said on Tuesday.
“He’s nice and bright, I just gave him a slight work up on the grass this morning and I was pleased with him.”
All going well the galloper, who will be ridden by James Winks on Saturday, will then progress onto the $150,000 Listed All Victorian Sprint Series Final (1200m) back at the track on July 11.
Desert Jeuney is also nominated for the $80,000 VRC – CRV Winter Championship Series Heat 6 (1400m) at Saturday meeting, the $150,000 final for which runs over the mile on the same day as the All Victorian Sprint Series Final.
Another Blackiston-trained runner nominated for the Winter Championship Series Heat 6 on the weekend is five-year-old Golan gelding Desert Wizard, out to atone for a dead last when ninth behind Rhythm To Spare over the 1600m at Flemington back on Anzac Day, April 25.
Desert Wizard is also nominated for a 1600m Flemington handicap on Saturday, and is accepted for a mid-week run at Sale on Wednesday that he could be scratched from if the plan becomes to run on the weekend instead.
“If the (current Heavy 9) track keeps improving at Sale I’ll run him there, but if it goes back or stays in that Heavy range we’ll wait and run him on Saturday,” Blackiston said.
“He’s had a long time off but he came back in great order then he got this mystery blood disorder for a few weeks, some sort of infection, so we sent him away to Werribee and had tests done and couldn’t find out a reason but it seemed to correct itself.
“He trialled really well last week and I’m looking forward to getting him back to the track.”
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