El Sicario’s chances of success in Saturday’s Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m) undoubtedly took a boost when race favourite Yankee Rose was ruled out through injury, but trainer Trent Busuttin concedes his horse still faces a big test in his Australian debut.
El Sicario has only made two competitive appearances at the races since debuting in March but has more than stamped himself as a gelding to follow in finish second on both occasions.
Caught wide from the barriers in the Retox Sports Bar Maiden (1200m) on March 16th, El Sicario produced a slick late turn of foot to charge home from the rear of the field; finishing only a length off the pace of winner Quantam.
Given little chance of success in the Group 1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) a fortnight ago, the son of Bullbars produced another gutsy late effort to finish second behind Luna Rossa; only a neck in the red.
Busuttin believes his runner still faces a big task in stepping up to the Australian two-year-old ranks in the 2016 Champagne Stakes, but believes the conditions of the race should play directly into his strengths.
“We’ve obviously got an opinion of the horse, he’s certainly a very natural galloper and runs very good times on the race track and does it with ease,” Busuttin told Racing Ahead.
“We’re under no illusions the difference in class he faces. Even though they’re not the top drawing two-year-olds, it’s a massive jump from New Zealand two-year-old form to Australian two-year-old form.
“We know he’ll run well but we’re more hopeful than confident.
“Australian two-year-old racing is the best in the world so it’s certainly hard to measure up, but 1600m and cut out of the track, this bloke’s task tomorrow is certainly a lot easier than a Golden Slipper or a Blue Diamond.”
El Sicario has been confirmed to be partnered by notable hoop Kerrin McEvoy in the 2016 Champagne Stakes and will leave from barrier 9 with 56.5kgs in tow.
Ladbrokes.com.au is currently offering the best 2016 Champagne Stakes odds, for which El Sicario represents good value for money at a quote of $7.