Leading Victorian trainer Darren Weir is set to dominate the Group 2 $200,000 Australia Stakes (1200m) at The Valley on Friday night with six early nominations but can’t see Land Of Plenty taking home the spoils.
Land Of Plenty will be having his first run back since finishing fourth to Best Of Days in the Group 1 $1m Kennedy Mile (1600m) at Flemington during the 2018 Melbourne Cup Carnival and Weir is anticipating that the five year old will need the run on Friday night to bring him to his top to chase another Group 1 trophy during the 2019 Melbourne Autumn Carnival.
“He’s (Land Of Plenty) obviously first-up and will benefit from the run,” Weir told racing.com.
“He’s going to kick-off on Friday night and he looks great in his trial this morning (Monday).”
“He spent a bit of time up at the farm and he’s been back at the beach for about two and a half weeks – he seems really well in himself.
“He’ll run Friday night and then head on to the 1400-metre Group 1s (C.F. Orr Stakes and Futurity Stakes) and then hopefully into the big one (The All-Star Mile).
“It looks like he’s on track so far. The horse really looks well and he wasn’t asked to do a lot this morning.”
Land Of Plenty worked his way up through grades during 2018 and joined the stable’s Group 1 winning club with a come from behind win in the Group 1 $500,000 Aquis Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield during the Melbourne Spring Carnival.
The Group 1 $500,000 Ladbrokes C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) on February 9 and the Group 1 $500,000 Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield a fortnight later are the two Group 1 Autumn Carnival races that Weir has pencilled in for Land Of Plenty who could then gain a start in the $5m All-Star Mile (1600m) at Flemington on March 16.
Weir expects Fifty Stars to follow the same Autumn Carnival Group 1 program as Land Of Plenty and also thinks the he will benefit greatly from the run in the Australia Stakes.