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An obvious affinity for the Flemington straight track has trainer John Sadler confident heading into Saturday’s 2015 All Victorian Sprint Series Final with recent heat winner Lonrockstar.
The five-year-old son of Lonhro earned a shot in his first black-type start this weekend at Flemington Racecourse in the lucrative $150,000 Listed All Victorian Sprint Series Final (1200m) after taking out one of the heats against a similar class of rivals last time out.
Lining up in his 22nd career start the gelding had a nose to spare on the line over Nadeem Lass with Hard Romp running third in the $80,000 Takeover Target Tribute Handicap (1100m) from July 27.
Both the in-form Robbie Griffiths-trained mare Nadeem Lass and Ciaron Maher’s super-consistent five-year-old Hard Romp are also backing up in Saturday’s final looking to turn the tables on Lonrockstar.
In the heat the winner carried the 54kg minimum from gate nine with Craig Williams in the saddle.
For Saturday’s test internationally performed hoop Williams stays on Lonrockstar who goes up just one kilo with 55kg and a gun barrier four draw in the 13-starter field in the Final.
While yet to win over 1200m, the horse has had six previous runs at the distance for three seconds and a third and also runs well on a straight track that will work in his favour at Flemington according to the Caulfield-based Sadler.
“The thing that does give me most confidence is that he’s only had two starts down the straight for his best win and in the other race he ran fifth but couldn’t get out,” he told AAP.
“It seems like the straight suits him.”
Sadler also takes confidence out the fact the Listed Final doesn’t look much tougher class-wise for Lonrockstar than the heat he recently saluted in.
“I wouldn’t have thought he would be good enough to win a final, but it’s not a lot stronger than the race he won the other day,” he said.
Among some of Lonrockstar’s other notable rivals on the weekend are the likes of Adelaide raider Nearest To Pin defending his title from barrier six with Clare Lindop aboard and Group 1 placed Desert Jeuney.
Desert Jeuney comes off a first-up fourth in his first run since finishing dead last in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) last November, after which he underwent surgery to remove a bone chip from a fetlock.
The resuming fourth was behind Lonrockstar in the lead-up heat where Nigel Blackiston’s Desert King five-year-old Desert Jeuney carried 60kg, the same top weight he is allocated again for the Final this weekend.
Saturday will be Desert Jeuney’s final run this campaign before a brief freshen-up and spring return to hopefully break his Group 1 maiden.
“It was nice to see him finish off the way he did first-up, he’ll improve from that fitness wise and hopefully he runs a cheeky race again,” Blackiston said.
“He’s always been a nice horse and was Group One placed last spring. Hopefully he can go better this year.”
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