Heart Of A Lion faces a big task in overcoming a classy field in the Group 3 RN Irwin Stakes (1100m), but trainer Lloyd Kennewell is confident the six-year-old has the means to be right in the finish of the feature race at Morphettville on Saturday.
Heart Of A Lion has been a strong and consistent performer through his entire career since first appearing on course competitively in 2012, but has not been seen at the races since finishing fourth in the Group 3 Sir John Monash Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield in July.
Forced to have bone fragments removed from a knee joint following his most recent run, Kennewell told Racing Ahead he is pleased with the condition of Heart Of A Lion leading into the RN Irwin Stakes.
“Heart Of A Lion is a really capable galloper,” Kennewell said.
“He won four of his last five before he went to Melbourne last preparation and then ran fourth to Miss Promiscuity.
“It was a gallant run but he pulled up with chips on the knee so he had surgery and he’s first-up tomorrow.
“I think he’ll improve from the run because he’s a good quality galloper on his day.”
Kennewell has conceded the Darren Weir-trained Tuscan Sling looks set to win the 2016 RN Irwin Stakes, but will be pleased if Heart Of A Lion produces a good all-round performance.
“Darren Weir looks to have a mortgage on the race with Tuscan Sling, with the form around Azkadellia,” Kennewell added.
“You would think it should be winning but if we can run a place to it, I’ll be happy.”
Heart Of A Lion has produced a number of commendable efforts on his way to a career record of seven wins and as many minors through a total of twenty-one starts.
Resuming in 2015 for fourth in the Peter Kittle Motor Company BM82 (1100m), the Lion Heart gelding failed to fire when sixth in the Myer Fashion Trophy (1200m) and seventh in the Life Member M Walsh BM82 (1200m), but responded well in winning each of his next three starts.
Placing third in the Spy The Movie BM90 (1050m) on May 30th, Heart Of A Lion returned to winning form in the Schweppes BM90 (1000m), in what was his only other start prior to the Sir John Monash Stakes.
Ladbrokes.com.au is currently offering the best 2016 RN Irwin Stakes odds, for which Heart Of A Lion can be taken at a generous quote of $19 for success.