Sonntag was unlucky to be ruled out of a trip to New Zealand after pulling up with soreness following his run in the Geelong Cup in October, but is reportedly returned to peak condition leading into Saturday’s 2015 Ballarat Cup (2200m).
A Group 1 winner having taken out the 2014 edition of the Queensland Derby (2400m), Sonntag has been unable to make much of an impact through four starts this time; beating only a handful of runners home in each of the Listed Heatherlie Stakes (1700m), Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) and Group 3 The Bart Cummings (2520m) before placing fourteenth in the Geelong Cup (2400m) on October 21st.
Trainer Henry Dwyer told Racing Ahead that while disappointing the Teofilo gelding was unable to take his place in his major campaign target, he has continued to train well and is primed for a big performance in the 2015 Ballarat Cup.
“All is well with him,” Dwyer said.
“We had a bit of a setback a couple of weeks ago. We had the whole preparation geared around going to the Melbourne Plate on Cup day and then New Zealand but it didn’t quite come off because he got a little but sore under his chest and over his back.
“The opportunity to freshen him up has probably been a good thing for the horse because he was getting pretty dour by that stage.
“He goes into a 2200m race pretty fresh. I did a bit of work with him on Saturday morning and it’s the first time I’ve seen him pull in his work since I’ve had him so he’s obviously feeling well.
“I took him to Sandown yesterday morning just for a sharp little 800m jump-out and he did a good job. He’s bright and keen.
“I think he goes into a Ballarat Cup on Saturday as some sort of chance.”
Sonntag has posted an impressive five wins and three minors through 21 career starts so far; beginning his racing career under the guidance of Peter Snowden for Darley Australia before being sold and transferred to the care of Dwyer prior to his 2014 campaign.
Clearly at his best over a trip, Sonntag required a few runs to find competitive form upon resuming this year, but ended his autumn campaign with success in the Macau Handicap (2800m) and a close second to La Amistad in the Listed Andrew Ramsden Stakes (3200m) on May 23rd.
Allocated the wide barrier 16, Sonntag will be partnered by returning hoop Chris Symons in the 2015 Ballarat Cup.
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