Some trainers like to play down their chances in the run-up to a significant race, but rising young trainer Clayton Douglas was holding little back when asked of the Challenge Stakes return this Saturday of his star Giga Kick.
“I am very confident,” Douglas said from Randwick on Monday. “He’s ready to go.
“There looks to be a lot of speed over the 1000 metres and he’ll camp off them and have his chance in the running I’d say.
“Craig (Williams) is really happy with the way the horse is coming along. He’s a bigger, stronger type and we’re all looking forward to Saturday.”
Giga Kick, who has won five of his six starts, was one of 11 horses to be nominated on Monday for the Challenge Stakes, including last year’s winner Eduardo.
A winner of his only run in Sydney – in last spring’s $15 million The Everest – Giga Kick will be ridden again by Craig Williams on Saturday.
Douglas said Giga Kick had enjoyed a trouble-free lead-up to his first race since his defeat in the Champion Sprint at Flemington last November.
“He arrived (in Sydney) yesterday morning and had a nice trot and canter here at Randwick and he seems to be settling in well,” Douglas reported.
“He trialed at Balnarring on Wednesday and he will have a piece of work on the grass tomorrow morning and that’ll have him right for Saturday.”
Giga Kick is likely to go straight into the $3m G1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 1, before a sea of options are worked through.
“Obviously, we have a few races in mind,” Douglas said. “Maybe to stretch him (out to 1400m) in an All Aged (Stakes) or maybe a Doomben 10,000 or both.”
The distinctive red and white striped colours of owner Jonathan Munz are generally easy to find in a field but that may not be the case on Saturday as Munz’s star sprinting mare Passive Aggressive is also set to run first-up in the $500,000 race for trainer Grahame Begg.
“They’ll be up against each other, which will be very interesting, but from my point of view, I hope the chestnut beats the bay,” Douglas said.