Sargent Targets VRC St Leger At Flemington

Even John Sargent concedes he was a little worried early on with Bastida, who is the Sydney trainer’s representative in Monday’s $300,000 Listed VRC St Leger at Flemington.

The Pierro gelding’s pedigree suggested he would be a stayer, but inglorious performances at his first two starts – a second-last placing over 1500m at Muswellbrook followed by a 10th of 12 over 1600m at Gosford – was a concerning start to his racing career.

But wins over 2100m and 2000m at Goulburn and Wyong at his past two have restored Sargent’s faith and earned him a shot at the 2800m St Leger.

“Early on he showed nothing, he’s just been very slow maturing and only starting to kick on now,” Sargent said.

“As soon as I put him up over a trip he showed some form. He’s taken a while but he’s hitting his straps now and I think the St Leger distance should suit him.”

Bastida will be ridden by Jamie Kah and jump from barrier two in the historic race that has attracted a field of 13, including Victoria Derby and Australian Derby placegetter Alegron.

He is from a family Sargent knows well, having prepared his dam Sirani to win three staying races in New Zealand.

“I trained the mother, she’s by Galileo and was a good staying filly, so it’s a good staying family and I think that is just starting to come through with him now.”

Bastida is one of two horses Sargent will send south for the Flemington Anzac Day meeting with So You Think colt Perfect Thought to make his debut in the $160,000 Listed Anzac Day Stakes (1400m).

“It’s just too wet up here and we’ve always had this race in the back of our minds with him,” the Randwick trainer said.

“He’s trialled well and I expect him to be very competitive over 1400 metres.”

Perfect Thought will be ridden by Craig Williams and the pair will jump from barrier nine in the field of 13.

– RAS NewsWire

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