Aero De Paris and Star Treasure give Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott a strong hand in the open sprint handicap at Te Rapa on Saturday with the trainers finding it hard to choose between the pair.
The former will kick off his winter campaign in the Matost 60th Celebration Handicap (1200m) and has an imposing first-up record while Star Treasure is genuine and has excelled in all three outings this preparation.
Aero De Paris will be ridden by Sam Weatherley, who has been successful on the son of Tavistock in the past, and has four wins and four runner-up finishes when produced off breaks.
Runner-up in the Gr.1 Sistema Stakes (1200m) as a juvenile, Star Treasure has only won two races but is showing the benefit of an extended break with second placings in all three appearances since his return to competition this term.
“They are hard to split and Aero goes very well fresh and has trained well. He has had a couple of nice trials to fit him up and he has raced well at Te Rapa in the past,” Scott said.
“Sam knows him well and obviously there is improvement in him, but we think he is forward enough to race well.
“Star Treasure has got the runs on the board and is match-hard fit. He’ll race well again and his confidence is high.
“We gave him a jolly good break, he had more than a year away from racing, and he has certainly come back with consistency and that’s all you can ever ask.
“He’s got no weight on his back and that will aid him a lot in the conditions.”
Scott and O’Sullivan will be represented by Rockspell, Sonofabutcher and Two Madison in the Animal Feed Barn 19th Birthday Mile (1600m) and believe the former will be their best chance.
The Per Incanto four-year-old has won two of his last three starts over 1400m and is expected to cope admirably with a rise in distance.
“He is going really well and he is thriving at this time of the year. He is finishing off his races and is out to a mile for the first time, but we think he will stay it out well,” Scott said.
“He looks tremendous for this time of the year and we are expecting another solid performance from him.”
Sonofabutcher will step out sporting a couple of gear additions and Masa Hashizume takes over from Yuto Kumagai.
“He has been a little below par, but will have the hood and tongue tie on and with a stronger rider from a handy draw we are hoping he can atone,” Scott said.
“Two Madison is coming up very well and she is down in grade, but with a lot of weight and is a month without a run.
“She had a wee setback going into her last race with a sore foot and is an improver. She is in for a good winter campaign when she gets around two corners.”
The stable’s other two Te Rapa runners Canny Man and Treasure State will clash in the Valachi Downs Dispersal Sales 24/6 and 1/7 Handicap (1300m).
The former has been around the mark in recent outings and Kumagai’s 4kg claim will be of major benefit.
“He has been racing well and in his last two he drew the inside when he needed to draw the outside and been caught in the worst of the ground,” Scott said.
“He has a more favourable barrier for the conditions and a lot of weight relief and that should bring him right into it. He gets around Te Rapa well and is certainly an each-way chance.”
Treasure State was a winner on the course last winter and will be all the better for more recent appearances.
“He took a couple of runs last preparation to hit his straps and he’s had a couple of trials and a run the other day,” Scott said.
“The race never changed complexion, as they turned for home is how they stayed. He is back left-handed and he races well at Te Rapa and will improve quickly.”
- Article by NZ Racing Desk