Trainer Lionel Cohen has revealed that Aeronautical is no certainty to contest the Listed Starlight Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday and could be saved for the Listed Razor Sharp Handicap (1200m) at Royal Randwick on December 14.
Cohen was planning on taking Aeronautical overseas to compete in the Group 1 Hong Kong International Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin on December 8 but the son of Encosta De Lago did not receive an invitation to contest the prestigious race.
The snub from Hong Kong meant that Cohen had to change his plans with Aeronautical and is still unsure whether the five-year-old will be ready to return to racing, for the time since he finished ninth in the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on October 5, in the Starlight Stakes this weekend.
“Given the disrupted preparation, we missed a few trials and some gallops,” Cohen told TVN.
“I was able to give him a trial at Warwick Farm last week but I think he might be short one gallop.
“I just want to monitor the horse throughout the week and also have a look at the makeup of the field.
“We have options, we can wait another fortnight and run at Randwick over 1200m (in the Razor Sharp Handicap), which is probably a more suitable race.
“If he happens to run Saturday and win, his rating will go up and then he would have to carry more weight next time.
“I think he performs well fresh, we could prepare him for the one run at Randwick and then have a break and come back for the autumn.”
Nominations for the Starlight Stakes have not been made public but the Listed event is expected to draw a strong field; with the in-form Heart Testa and Paul Perry-trained Hidden Warrior two confirmed runners.
Heart Testa started his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a third place finish behind That’s A Good Idea in the Australian Turf Club Handicap (1200m) at Royal Randwick and recorded his first race win in almost a year with a strong performance in The Paslode Sprint (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on September 28.
The son of Testa Rossa had his colours lowered again by That’s A Good Idea in the Bob Ingham Handicap (1200m) but returned to the winners circle with a narrow win over Queensland sprinter Cape Kidnappers in the Diamond Beach Handicap (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on November 16.
Group 3 winner Hidden Warrior finished behind Aeronautical in the Group 2 The Shorts (1100m) at the start of the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival but will be taking winning form into the Starlight Stakes after recording a narrow win in the Lidoran Group Spring Handicap at Rosehill Gardens at the start of the month.
The 2012 edition of the Starlight Stakes was won by Mrs Onassis who went on to win the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) during the 2013 Melbourne Festival Of Racing.