The punters are coming for the Joe Pride-trained...
Trainer David Hayes is pleased with the condition of Keen Array ahead of his return in Saturday’s Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m), but believes that the horse will take plenty of benefit from whatever he manages in the feature race.
Keen Array has been a strong and largely consistent performer for Lindsay Park throughout his entire racing career so far, but failed to come up in the autumn and was sent back to the paddock before making an appearance at the races.
Hayes confirmed that the Bel Esprit gelding will be set for Group 1 targets this season and is confident that he will run when well in the Bletchingly Stakes first-up, with plenty of room to improve.
“He’ll certainly run well but I suspect he’ll get better with racing and possibly even over some more ground this spring,” Hayes told Racing Victoria.
“He came back from Perth and really had a bad prep in the autumn – which can happen with horses – so instead of taking him to the races, we cut our losses and put him out.
“But he’s come back really well and impressed in his trials so I’ll be looking for a strong run from him on Saturday.”
Part-owner Mark Pilkington said that the syndication and Lindsay Park will look to step Keen Array up in trip slightly this time, with the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) figuring as a likely target.
“He’s out of a Zabeel mare (Moorea) and so we’ve always looked forward to getting him out over some ground and that’s what will happen this prep,” Pilkington said.
Keen Array has shown plenty of ability since making his debut in the autumn of 2015 and will take his place in the Bletchingly Stakes field with a commendable record of six wins and four minors, from only seventeen starts.
Winner of the Listed Blue Sapphire Stakes (1200m) and second in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) most notably as a three-year-old, Keen Array resumed last spring for a close second behind Voodoo Lad in the Listed Fruit Supply Stakes (1200m) before posting consecutive wins in the Listed Testa Rossa Stakes (1200m) and Listed Caulfield Village Stakes (1200m).
Fourth in the Group 2 Salinger Stakes (1200m) on October 29th, the gelding out of Moorea failed to finish better than midfield in either of the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) or Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) most recently.
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