Cranbourne trainer Robbie Laing is confident heading into the 2016 Sir John Monash Stakes on Saturday with Lord Of The Sky despite his galloper not having raced since March or won a race in 24 months.
Last start the five-year-old Danerich gelding ran at Rosehill in the autumn, finishing dead last over 14 lengths off the winner Griante in the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) four months ago.
That was his third last start run on the trot following disappointing efforts in the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) in July last year and a first-up 10th after the injury-prone galloper spent nearly a year on the sidelines before the Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) in March.
Lord Of The Sky’s last top three placing was a second to Flamberge in the 2015 Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) in Adelaide, while his last win was a runaway four and a half-length effort in the 2014 Sir John Monash Stakes two years ago.
Last winter he unsuccessfully defended his Sir John Monash title when seventh behind Miss Promiscuity as the beaten short-priced favourite, and on Saturday he lines-up in the race for the third year on the trot.
“He missed the start in that race [the Monash last year] and then he broke down in the Bletchingly Stakes,” his trainer Laing explained to the Herald Sun.
This weekend’s $150,000 Group 3 Sir John Monash Stakes (1100m) features a final field of 16 with the early markets at Ladbrokes.com.au led by the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Fast ‘N’ Rocking ($4.80).
A further four chances are under $10 for the win including the market mover Lord Of The Sky at $7.
Drawn in barrier nine with Patrick Moloney aboard for the first time since the runner’s fourth to Brazen Beau in last year’s Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m), Lord Of The Sky comes off two smart trials from earlier in the season.
The latest on May 9 at Cranbourne was on a Heavy (8) track over 800m, which he won by a runaway seven lengths and Laing said recent beach work has been the key to getting the sprinter back on track after he was jarring up on firmer tracks.
“The horse is really good. He’s been magnificent in trackwork,” he said.
He has a 50% winning strike rate at the Caulfield track with five victories from 10 starts and also runs well fresh, all things giving Laing confidence ahead of the weekend’s fitness test.
“If he’s back to his best, and I think he is, he will win,” Laing said, adding the two year drought doesn’t faze him.
“He ran some great races [in that time].
“Seconds in the Christmas Stakes and the Standish, a fourth in the Newmarket and then second to Chautauqua in the TJ. Smith Stakes and a second to Flamberge in The Goodwood.”
To back Lord Of The Sky to return to winning form in the Sir John Monash at the right price on Saturday head to Ladbrokes.com.au now – home of Odds Boost!