Flying Artie is progressing perfectly towards his first-up run as a three-year-old on Wednesday according to jockey Damien Oliver who is excited to jump in the saddle of the 2016 Blue Sapphire Stakes favourite.
He jumps from a gun barrier four draw in the Blue Sapphire Stakes field that is down to a dozen starters after the early scratching of Palladian (12) from the three-years-old set weights sprint.
Oliver is booked to ride the smart Mick Price-trained Artie Schiller colt in his return after being aboard for three of his four career openers as a juvenile.
On debut Flying Artie ran a devastatingly close second to Power Trip at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day last November with Dale Smith in the saddle.
During his impressive three-run autumn assault Oliver got to know the youngster very well.
The two combined first-up at Caulfield to win the Group 3 Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m) before the brave second in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) back at the track behind subsequent Moir Stakes winning stablemate Extreme Choice.
Flying Artie was last seen running third to Capitalist in the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on March 19, and is sure to appreciate racing fresh back in Melbourne on Wednesday.
He looked ready for a big run fresh according to Oliver who put him through his paces at Caulfield on Saturday morning before the Caulfield Guineas Day action.
“I am really pleased with his progress,” Oliver told Racing Victoria.
“He worked really well on the course proper on Saturday morning.
“He had a little bit longer out than the other three-year-olds which I think could be a bit of a blessing in disguise. Sometimes after a tough two-year-old year, it’s good to give them a little bit of extra time and he seems to have thrived on that.
“He’s nice and sound, he’s had a couple of trials and I’m really pleased where he’s at.”
Price has also accepted for Heptagon in the Blue Sapphire this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
A lightly-raced son of Jimmy Choux, the New Zealand-bred colt has had just the one run to date for an 1100m win on debut at Ballarat back on March 9.
Heptagon reunites with his hoop from that run, Craig Newitt, on Wednesday and the pair are drawn the inside alley paying $31 to score the upset.
The other undefeated runner in the Group 3 is the Michael Moroney-trained Barthelona ($12) in barrier nine with Ryan Maloney in the saddle.
A Zoffany colt, Barthelona has won all three of his starts to date with Maloney aboard including over 1100m at the Caulfield track defeating Modern Wonder last start on September 17.
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