Trainer Brett Robb says the timing is right to showcase the Country Championships credentials of promising galloper Gallant Star away from country grade at Rosehill on Saturday before setting his sights on qualifying for the $1 million Final.
The four-year-old earned the right to be declared Robb’s leading prospect for a second successive Country Championships Final with a dynamic Highway win two weeks ago.
That’s a decent rap given he’s also preparing reigning champ Sizzle Minizzle for a defence but it’ll be a couple of months before the stablemates meet to decide that title.
“A lot of people have been saying he’s better than a Highway horse and this is a perfect stepping stone,’’ Robb said.
“He would have got a bit of weight in a Highway and I’d have to wait another week.
“I just want to give him one more run and freshen him for the Championships. I’m already half running out of time.”
Gallant Star, $3.70 with TAB on Thursday, is set to have a week to 10 days out following the Inglis Classic Sale 11-13 Feb Handicap (1300m).
He’ll then have a trial and one run prior to the $150,000 WRA Country Championships (1400m) at Coonamble on March 17.
In his last start win, the gelding was forced to track wide but appreciated a strong speed and reeled off a 34.39 (Punter’s Intelligence) final 600m to score what appeared a soft win.
Robb said it’ll be interesting to see how he adapts to barrier one and the switch back to Rosehill, where he did finish second to stablemate Wilburys over 1100m first-up, but it’s a chance to see a different side to him.
“The horse does race a lot better when you get him on the outside of horses and it’s going to be hard from barrier one to get out there,’’ he said.
“I would like to see him attack the line up the rail, save the ground and attack the line like he did the other day around horses.
“When he’s on the outside he’s shown he can let down and go, it’d be good to see him do that around horses and take a run.
“But he’s very well, I can’t get him any better at the moment. He came through Randwick really well.”
The Dubbo trainer said he expects Gallant Star to be a bit more forward in the run stepping up to 1300m from the inside barrier in a race that doesn’t appear to have anything like the speed of that last start Highway.
Meanwhile, Sizzle Minizzle is set to have his first trial, on his home track on Monday, as he builds up for his second Country Championships campaign.
The four-year-old hasn’t raced since contesting The Kosciuszko on Everest Day and Robb is a little bullish about how he’s returned.
“I do reckon he’s come back better. I spelled him in Sydney and he did really well, he’s come back good in the mind and looks really well,’’ Robb said.
The $1m Newhaven Park Country Championships Final is run at Royal Randwick on April 6.
– Racing NSW