Co-trainer Leonie Proctor is hoping the addition of blinkers to the gear of Well Sprung will see the galloper improve on his recent season with a first-up upset in the Carlyon Stakes 2016 at Moonee Valley on the weekend.
Twelve months ago at the same meeting the then three-year-old son of Star Witness posted his maiden win in the Listed McKenzie Stakes (1200m).
He has won just once since with a Mornington Benchmark 78 sprint over 1000m from early April when donning winkers.
His last start was a distant 11th behind Nudierudie at Caulfield over 1100m when hampered by 60kg and barrier 13 of 13 in the autumn.
The entire makes his four-year-old debut on Saturday after another Moonee Valley black-type success against a class field of rivals in the $120,000 Listed 1PRINT Carlyon Stakes (1000m).
The tight track suits the stallion who Proctor said was behaving better with the blinkers on his lead-up work including a third to Sistine Demon in a Cranbourne trial over 800m at the start of the month.
“He trialled nicely with the blinkers on at Cranbourne and we were happy how he got in amongst them and hit the line,” Proctor, who trains out of Mornington in partnership with her mother Lyn Tolson, told Racing Victoria.
“It was good to see him do that and his manners with the blinkers on were a lot better than they have been. It was nice to see him nice and settled behind the back of the gates and get the job done and not firing himself up.
“He’s probably improved a lot since the trial, too.”
Michael Walker, who rode Well Sprung to victory in last year’s McKenzie, comes aboard for the ride on Saturday who is drawn a treat in barrier two, the field down to 14 starters after two early scratchings.
The sole emergency Manihi Mischief gets the inside run from barrier one after both the Mark Kavanagh-trained Wild Rain (13) and the Andrew Murray-trained Sunday Escape (16) were withdrawn due to wide alleys.
Proctor said Well Sprung wasn’t only chasing a second stakes victory, he was also racing to stay an entire with another below-par run likely to prompt him being gelded.
“We’re fighting with him being a ‘boy’,” she said.
“I think if he was gelded he’d be a real horse, but we haven’t been able to geld him, so we’ve got to work in a different direction.
“That’s why we’ve put the blinkers on this time. This is our only hope to get his mind on the job and it seems to be working.”
Sitting top of the latest Carlyon Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au at $3.30 is the returning Group 1 placed Lonhro mare Heatherly, the four-year-old last seen finishing third to Flamberge in Caulfield’s Oakleigh Plate in late February.
Well Sprung meanwhile is only rated a $31 roughie in the current Carlyon Stakes betting markets.
Moonee Valley is currently rated a Soft (5) and with more rain predicted for Melbourne over the next few days, things could get wetter at the track by race day.
A rain-affected course could be to Well Sprung’s liking as he has had one previous Heavy-track start on debut that produced a second over 1200m in July last year when beaten a nose by Niccorama.
To check out the full 2016 Carlyon Stakes betting odds and offers head to Ladbrokes.com.au now!