Tony Gollan’s veteran nine-year-old Temple Of Boom will skip Saturday’s Aurie’s Star Handicap at Flemington in favour of a Sydney run in Group 2 company at Randwick in the 2015 Missile Stakes.
The Piccolo gelding, best known for his 2012 Group 1 The Galaxy win three years ago, was a dual nominee across two states this weekend with the opening Group races in both Melbourne and Sydney for the spring considered by his Brisbane-based trainer Gollan.
In the end the small field in Sydney’s $175,000 Group 2 McGrath Estate Agents Missile Stakes (1200m) attracted the Group 1 winner and Temple Of Boom is one of nine in the mix for the weight-for-age sprint.
Lining up for his 60th career start, the $1.9 million earner is on the cusp of hitting the magic $2 million mark in prize money earned and is after his first win since the Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m) at Eagle Farm in April last year.
His latest run was a fourth behind the Ciaron Maher-trained mare Srikandi in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) at Doomben back in early June and his record when resuming is solid consisting of four wins and three seconds from 13 previous first-up runs.
Temple Of Boom has had two previous looks at Royal Randwick including his Group 1 win and Saturday will be his 33rd run over the 1200m.
Current Missile Stakes betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au are led by the Team Hawkes-trained Messene ($3.30) who jumps from a gun barrier three draw with Tommy Berry in the saddle.
Apprentice Winona Costin has the ride on Temple Of Boom who is also drawn a treat jumping one inside the top elect from gate two, the evergreen galloper the early market mover backed in from $4.80 to $4.60.
Both horses come off nice Sydney trials leading into Saturday’s showdown including Temple who won by four lengths, with Costin aboard, over 840m on a Soft (5) Randwick track on July 31.
Gollan was thrilled with the trial and named the season’s first elite level race, the $400,000 Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield Racecourse on August 29, as his next assignment all going well in the Missile Stakes.
“I’m really happy with him – he’s had the two trials there in Sydney and improved significantly one to the other,” Gollan told Racing Ahead on RSN.
“If he runs really well Saturday I’d love to have a go at the Memsie.”
Gollan is also happy to have Costin in the saddle on Saturday saying she’d done a “great job” on the veteran in his recent hit-outs.
“She’s done a great job on the horse since he’s been down there,” he said.
“We’ve had him at the Snowdens’ for a few weeks, she’s been riding a lot of work, she’s trialled him twice.
“This horse is a really good kid’s horse, he did a great job with Tegan Harrison in Queensland and there’s no reason Winona wouldn’t do a great job with him on Saturday.”
Last year’s Missile Stakes winner was the Gai Waterhouse-trained Sweet Idea who took out the race first-up with Berry aboard before her brave second to the since retired Dissident in the Memsie Stakes in Melbourne.
Waterhouse will shoot for back-to-back Missile Stakes wins this weekend with five-year-old Liberty’s Choice, Nash Rawiller’s mount drawn in gate five and paying $9 in the latest markets on the back of his first-up fourth to Rugged Cross in the Listed Winter Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill last month.
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