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Mornington-based co-trainer Leonie Proctor admits Saturday’s McKenzie Stakes 2015 at Moonee Valley is a tough assignment for the lightly raced Well Sprung who has just his second start in the black-type sprint.
A three-year-old son of Star Witness, Proctor’s nicely bred up-and-comer Well Sprung debuted at Cranbourne in the wet putting in an excellent effort on a Heavy (8) track to finish a nose away second to Niccorama over 1200m on July 12.
This weekend he is up in class for an early shot at stakes success in the $120,000 Listed Essendon Nissan McKenzie Stakes (1200m).
One of 22 three-year-old colts and geldings nominated for the McKenzie Stakes this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, the field for the set weights plus penalties clash out this morning, Well Sprung is trained by Proctor in partnership with her mother Lyn Tolson.
Proctor said while they were hopeful of a good showing in a race that could feature the likes of Godolphin’s well-tried Demonstrate, the consistent Peter Moody-trained El Greco, Blue Diamond fourth placegetter Manhattan Blues and 2015 Caulfield Guineas hope Odyssey Moon, really the race was about getting Well Sprung better educated on the track.
“It’s mainly for his education, mentally he can improve and we will learn a lot about him on Saturday,” Proctor told Racenet.
“We think he’s a nice horse but he’s probably six months away from being near his best, he’s done a good job to get this far at his first preparation.
“We want to see where we are at with him. If he is out of his depth on Saturday we can always come back a couple of grades.”
To help bring him on for the assignment the stable took Well Sprung to Moonee Valley on Tuesday morning where he worked well, including posting 23.92 seconds for his final 400m sectional alongside stablemate Just Magical.
“Very happy with the work, they both worked nicely,” Proctor said on Tuesday.
“This morning was good for him, a trip away from home. He’s a colt and a bit of lad but he’s taken this in his stride.”
In the hit-out jockey Michael Walker had the mount on Well Sprung, a ride he retains in the McKenzie Stakes this weekend, and was also pleased with what the youngster showed him.
“For a young horse that is still learning he was really nice,” the hoop said.
“He’s still a bit green but handled the track fine and gave me a good feel.
“Saturday will give us a better idea of where he is at right now but he’s a really nice horse in the making.”
Well Sprung is currently nominated for the $1 million Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 10, but is a $67 roughie in the futures markets at Ladbrokes.com.au for the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival classic.
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