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The season’s opening Group 1 race at the end of August is the major spring aim this season for Robbie Laing’s 2015 Memsie Stakes-bound galloper Lord Of The Sky following a title defense in Saturday’s Monash Stakes.
The talented Danerich stallion won last year’s Group 3 Sir John Monash Stakes (1100m) with a runaway four and a half-length effort over Le Bonsir and returns to Caulfield Racecourse this weekend looking for back-to-back wins in the winter feature.
After that the horse’s Cranbourne-based trainer Laing said the plan was to have him ready for a shot at Group 1 glory in the $400,000 Memsie Stakes (1400m) back at the track on August 29 this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
A light spring is on the agenda for the rising five-year-old who will then be put away with the long term aim being a 2016 autumn preparation aimed at the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) next April in Sydney.
Yet to win a race since his Monash success 12 months ago, Lord Of The Sky was an impressive and consistent force during the autumn this year with top runs across three states.
He ran a brave fourth in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington behind Brazen Beau before a second to Chautauqua in Randwick’s TJ Smith Stakes this year as a 20/1 shot.
His last start was then on May 16 in Adelaide when second again this time behind Flamberge at Morphettville in the Group 1 Darley Goodwood (1200m) with Damien Oliver in the saddle, Oliver retaining the ride on Saturday.
Laing is looking forward to his weekend run in the Monash Stakes where his rivals could include Richard Jolly’s in-form Adelaide raider Karacatis, fellow South Australian visitor Heart Of A Lion who has won four of his past five starts back home and the Stephen Brown-trained seven-year-old Sea Lord.
Discovering the horse was asthmatic at the start of this year, Laing has been able to tailor his campaigns around this.
“Asthmatics tend to struggle in the hotter weather and are better in cooler weather so he’ll keep going until the early spring,” Laing told The Daily Telegraph this week.
“Lord Of The Sky has been an example of this. He raced flat over summer and would pull up badly after his races.
“He got a cool day in Sydney in the T.J. Smith Stakes and ran the race of his life.”
Lord Of The Sky had his first piece of serious trackwork last Saturday with jockey Brian Higgins aboard, the hoop giving the horse a glowing report.
The Sir John Monash Stakes 2015 field and barriers are out on Wednesday morning so stay tuned.
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