Mornington trainer Jim Conlan will know after Saturday’s Flemington meeting if import Saptapadi heads towards another Melbourne Spring Carnival campaign or concentrates on Winter events.
Conlan now trains the English galloper and will decide if the improvement Saptapadi has shown him on the tracks is enough to pursue another Cups campaign after being uncompetitive during the Carnival last year.
“His first couple of gallops I thought he was just an ordinary horse but as he has got fitter he has been more impressive in his work,” Conlan said.
Saptapadi is the winner of only one race in England when under the care of English trainer Sir Michael Stoute but managed to secure a start in both the Group 1 $2.5 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield and the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington last year.
The six year old was well beaten in both Cups and then finished fifth of five behind Americain in the Group 2 $350,000 Zipping Classic (2400m) at Sandown at the end of the Carnival before going for a spell.
Saptapadi failed to show any dash at his only run for Conlan when fifteen of sixteen over 1400m at Flemington on June 9 but Conlan is willing to give him another chance to impress.
Even though Saptapadi has only won a maiden, he has some fair form in Group races in England for Stoute before being transferred to Brian Elison including a second in the Group 2 Blue Square Henry II Stakes (2 miles 78 yards) at Sandown in May and a third in the Group 3 CGA Geoffrey Freer Stakes (1 mile 5 furlongs 61 yards) at Newbury in August 2010.
Ballarat trainer Robert Smerdon is quickly closing in on a hundred Victorian winners for the season and the milestone could come as quickly as today or tomorrow with runners at Geelong and Sandown over the next couple of days.
Smerdon has come close in previous years preparing ninety-nine and a half winners in 2003-2004 and ninety-nine Victorian winners in 2007-2008.
The Victorian trainer’s premiership has already been decided with the Peter Moody stable saddling up one hundred and eighty winners in the state so far this season, ahead of Darren Weir with one hundred and fifty-nine and Mick Price with one hundred and twenty-seven.
And on the National table, Smerdon has recorded one hundred and ten winners including his star filly Mosheen’s Group 1 wins over the Sydney Autumn Carnival in the $500,000 Turnpoint Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) at Randwick on March 17 and the $400,000 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on April 7.