Cranbourne trainer Doug Harrison is confident of an improved effort at Moonee Valley this weekend from his four-year-old stallion Tudor who heads towards a January target of the Australia Stakes 2016 back at the track.
Last summer the son of Strategic lined up in the $200,000 Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) at the Valley and ran 2.65 lengths away fifth behind Mourinho before a next start second in early February’s Listed Abell Stakes (1200m).
This week according to AAP Harrison confirmed the same two Melbourne Summer Racing Carnival black-types for the Group 1 performer who runs in the $80,000 William Hill Handicap (1200m) this weekend.
There are 11 sprinters left in the mix for the last on the Moonee Valley card on Saturday, Tudor to jump from the outside alley with apprentice Jake Bayliss claiming three kilos to give the horse a manageable 54kg in the showdown.
Bayliss has had just one run aboard the horse for a Bendigo win over 1100m back in August last year, a race where Darren Weir’s subsequent Group 1 winner Stratum Star ran third in.
It is the first start for Harrison’s runner, who was runner-up to Nicoscene in the Group 2 Euclase Stakes (1200m) in Adelaide back in May, since a failed 12th behind The Quarterback in Flemington’s Listed Dilmah Tea Stakes (1000m) on Crown Oaks Day when rain hampered his chances.
“After about the third race of the day the rain just came down and I probably should have scratched him,” Harrison said of the November 5 run.
“It was a heavy track and he doesn’t handle the wet.”
Harrison is happy to excuse that run and said things hadn’t gone right all campaign including the fourth first-up in the Apache Cat Handicap (1000m) at Cranbourne on the back of an eighth to Flamberge in Morphettville’s Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) from barrier 17 of 17 in mid-May.
“We haven’t had much luck this campaign,” Harrison said.
“When it started off I thought it was going to be a ripper. He had done that well.
“We gave him a good spell and could have raced him earlier but we waited for the Apache Cat Classic, thinking that would be the right race to kick him off in.
“He should have won.”
Harrison now hopes Tudor can turn the form around even from the wide alley as a current $8.50 hope in the markets at Ladbrokes.com.au.
“He’s got the outside draw but he does jump well from an outside gate,” he said.
“I’m happy with the horse, he’s done well and I think he’s got to be a great chance in a competitive race.”
To back Tudor this weekend and throughout his summer campaign in the better Melbourne races head to Ladbrokes.com.au where quoting the code BETBONUS will see your first deposit matched 100% up to $500 in bonus bets!