Trainer Ben Ahrens believes Spechenka is in top physical condition to defend his Caloundra Cup (2400m) title in tomorrow’s $200,000 Listed feature at the Sunshine Coast.
Ahrens said it would be a mental issue rather than a fitness one if the gelding fails to perform, with the Beaudesert trainer recently mixing up his training routine in an effort to sharpen up the six-year-old.
“He’s pretty hard fit, it’s just whether he wants to do it himself,” Ahrens said.
“I think he’s probably in better shape than last year, we’re really happy with him.”
After several disappointing efforts during his current campaign, Ahrens altered his program ahead of last weekend’s Group 3 Tattersall’s Cup and said he noticed an improved performance as he finished mid-field.
“Being an older horse, he gets a bit bored,” he said.
“We’ve been doing some more work away from the track and putting him over jumps.”
There were concerns poor weather could force tomorrow’s feature meeting to be abandoned but Racing Queensland officials have given it the green light to be run on a heavy (10) surface.
Spechenka performed admirably when carrying 59.5kg on a wet track when second to Fruehling earlier this month and Ahrens is confident he will handle the tough conditions.
“He’s never really galloped on anything super heavy but all signs point to him getting through the ground okay,” Ahrens said.
Spechenka has not tasted victory since he took out the event last year in a tight finish ahead of Gold In Dubai.
The six-year-old son of Danachenka is currently paying $9.00 to defend his title with Ipswich Cup winner Shenzhou Steeds ($2.70) and Sydney gelding Roi D’jeu ($3.90) the top two elects.
A veteran of 44 starts, Spechenka has scored victory on 11 occasions and collected more than $400,000 in prize money.