Victorian-trained three-year-old Ashlor will head to Adelaide next month for a shot at the 2017 Euclase Stakes after impressing his trainer Daniel McCarthy with a Ladbrokes Park win on Monday.
A son of Hard Spun, the progressive Ashlor enjoyed a three-quarter length win under a hefty 62kg in a Benchmark 64 over 1200m on Easter Monday.
It was an eye-catching effort with the up-and-comer not only carrying the big kilos in the form of apprentice Mitch Aitken, but also overcoming a three-wide run throughout the Le Pines Funerals Handicap.
“I’ve always thought that he’d be better chasing and obviously I would’ve loved a better run than that but he still got the opportunity to chase so that will teach him a lot,” McCarthy told Racing Victoria.
“Last start [at Bendigo] just ended up a shambles for him and it was a split second decision of Mitch’s to give him that little dig into a position where he couldn’t come to their outside.
“He’s learning all the time and if he can ever draw a barrier I think we might see the best of him.”
The gelding has now enjoyed two wins from three starts this campaign and his overall career record is up to five victories from seven runs.
His Wangaratta-based trainer McCarthy is now keen to step Ashlor up in class with a Morphettville run on Robert Sangster Stakes Day (May 6) in the lucrative $500,000 Group 2 Euclase Stakes (1200m) on the cards.
“We’ll throw him in the deep end now and take on a few of the better ones so we’ll head across to Adelaide and have a look at the Euclase Stakes,” McCarthy, whose winning strike rate for the season sits just below 30%, confirmed.
“He is a very tough horse but he’s also a very good horse with a lot of ability.
“I think there are several lengths of improvement in him, he’s still very green but he’s won five of seven now.”
Another Adelaide Autumn Racing Carnival-bound galloper after Sandown-Lakeside win on Monday is the Doug Harrison-trained Lopartega.
The four-year-old Lope De Vega mare blitzed her rivals by a winning margin of four lengths with Craig Williams aboard for the ride in the Ladbrokes Odds Boost Extra Handicap (1600m).
Lopartega improved on her last start fifth behind Give Us A Go in the Bendigo Gold Bracelet (1400m) from April 1 and could now target the $275,000 Group 2 Queen Of The South Stakes (1600m) also on May 6 at Morphettville.
“The way she just went away from them, that’s what I wanted to see today,” Harrison said on Monday.
“I’ve always had hopes of taking her back over to Adelaide for the carnival.”
As a filly last season Lopartega raced at the track in the Group 1 Schweppes Oaks (2000m), but could only manage to run second last (15th) behind the winner Abbey Marie in the feature.
“We went there last year but were a run behind going over there. She won brilliantly at Bendigo and then got over there and lightened off terribly and she ran jaded,” Harrison added.
“I thought we’d get back there this year and try to make amends.”
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