An impressive trial on Monday at Cranbourne has convinced trainer Kym Hann that reigning Bendigo Horse of the Year Glenrowan Prince is ready to return to the races.
A last start Caulfield winner in February, the son of Bushranger has been sidelined since an operation to remove bone chips from his foreleg.
Harry Coffey rode the six-year-old to a half-length third behind Group 3 winner Property in Monday’s 800-metre trial.
“He had one trial at Kerang before that and won by six lengths — I just wanted to test him in better company,” Hann said. “He’s still not near his peak but he did enough to please me.”
Glenrowan Prince will resume in the $200,000 Group 2 Caulfield Sprint (1000m) on Saturday week.
“With his rating (86) he has to step up now but I think he can,” Hann said.
“He’s better than I’ve had him before — bigger and stronger. We’ll aim for the China Bowl (1600m) at Ararat on November 12.”
Stablemate All About Nicci, who enjoyed little luck last Friday night at The Valley, will head to Kyneton on October 17 while Awake In Grinzing is set to tackle the Melbourne Cup Carnival Country Series.
’Riva floods home
Smart mare Skillriva returned in winning form at Seymour last Sunday, to the delight of Bendigo trainer Shaun Dwyer.
The four-year-old hadn’t been sighted since her debut second to subsequent city winner Balancing Act at Bendigo last December, having had an operation to remove bone chips in the interim.
Skillriva followed up an impressive trial win to score by 2¼ lengths at Seymour and provided Mitch Aitken with his second win for the stable in the space of a week.
Settling behind the leaders, Skillriva ($3.80)showed a sharp turn of foot to win by 2¼ lengths.
Bred and part-owned by the Keogh family, Skillriva is a half-sister to Mantener La Fe, who was a smart performer for the stable.
King of the road
The Victorian picnic season doesn’t start until Friday night’s Cranbourne Corinthian, but Bendigo hoop Toby Lake is off to a flying start already with three winners in New South Wales to his name.
Lake made the four-hour road trip to Lockhart last Friday to reunite with Black Fusion, who saluted as $1.80 favourite in the cup.
Earlier Lake won the day’s opening maiden on Unkapped ($2.20) for Bendigo trainer Erin Maher.
“It was a big thrill to win for Erin and Michael (Cosgriff, part-owner), who are good friends from Bendigo.
“To back it up with (Wagga trainer) Scott Spackman, who has been a great supporter of mine, was fantastic,” Lake told Winning Post.
Lake pressed on to the picnic meeting at Young the following day, where he won on Young Jackson ($4.20) for Cootamundra trainer Richard Coulton and finished second on the Spackman-trained Malleable.
Lake will reunite with the Spackman stable on Cox Plate day at Hardern.
In Friday night’s Corinthian, Lake will ride La Rita, who won six races on the circuit last season for Barry Goodwin and looks a key player.
Lake will take over the Goldfields column in the coming weeks while my focus shifts to a busy Ladbrokes Cox Plate carnival in my day job at the Moonee Valley Racing Club.
Star shines, bleeds
Gunbower held its annual cup meeting last Saturday and Goldfields-based trainers came home with two winners.
Harlem Star made a winning start to his career in the care of Aileen Vanderfeen, courtesy of a box seat ride from John Robertson.
The bold-going chestnut, part-owned by picnic rider Craig Kirkpatrick and wife Stacey, was well supported into $5 for his first race win since November 2015.
The news wasn’t all good, however. The son of Globetrotter bled from both nostrils and incurred a mandatory three-month ban.
Earlier, Sutton Grange trainer Brent Stanley saddled up $3.70 favourite Liberty Lad to win his maiden at start seven, with Zac Spain on board.
Kerrie-based breeders Joe and Daira Vella will head to Caulfield on Saturday filled with anticipation as their homebred Royal Symphony looks to become Wingrove Park stud’s first Group 1 winner. The couple have bred five stakes winners.