Leading Group 1 winning jockey Hugh Bowman will take over the reins on Illustrious Lad in the Group 1 $500,000 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on Friday night.
Bowman takes over from the suspended Anthony Darmanin who was completely out of luck on Illustrious Lad when eleventh to Redkirk Warrior in the Group 1 $1.25m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 11.
Trainer Peter Gelagotis wasn’t happy with the result in the Newmarket Handicap and Manny Gelagotis, Racing Manger for the stable, has reported that Illustrious Lad has pulled up well and is expecting a better performance in weight for age sprint on Friday night.
“I don’t want to relive that (the Newmarket), it was a horrible watch and we got it wrong on the day but he’s come through the run really well,” Manny Gelagotis told Racing.com.
“He had a nice gallop (Monday) morning and worked really well.
“He didn’t get a chance to have a crack at them at Flemington and I think if he handles Moonee Valley then he’ll be very competitive.”
Illustrious Lad had had one look at Moonee Valley early in his career for an unplaced run but Gelagotis is brushing that aside and expects the five year old to have no problems with the tricky circuit.
“I expect he’ll handle the track pretty well,” Gelagotis said.
“It’s an important Group 1 and he needs to put his hand up and keep progressing the right way but I believe he’ll be competitive.”
Illustrious Lad is yet to be placed at Group 1 level from two attempts, but showed he is not far off the money with a win in the Group 2 $300,000 tabcomau Stakes (1200m) at Flemington during the 2016 Melbourne Spring Carnival and a fifth, beaten three quarters of a length by Terravista, in the Group 1 $750,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington on February 18.
Early betting for the William Reid Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au has Illustrious Lad marked at $9 with the Team Hawkes trained three year old Star Turn at the top of the market order at $4.50.
Oakleigh Plate winner Sheidel and Black Caviar Lightning runner up Spieth share the second line of betting at $5.50 with the Darren Weir trained Hellbent at $9 with Illustrious Lad.
Early market order for the William Reid Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4.50 Spieth, $5.50 Star Turn, Sheidel, $9 Hellbent, Illustrious Lad, $11 I Am A Star, Rebel Dane, $15 Silent Sedition, Rock Magic, $17 Dal Cielo, Kuro, $19 Bassett, Flamberge, Secret Agenda, $21 Hooked, The Quarterback, $26 Japonisme, Kaepernick, $31 Sweet Sherry, Target In Sight, $34 Sirbible, $41 Missrock, Echo Effect, $51 Well Spring, $101 Sunday Escape.