Trainer Lloyd Kennewell is confident that Conservatorium is cherry ripe for his spring grand final in the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot on Saturday.
Conservatorium raced fairly during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival in Melbourne, finishing fifth in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) and seventh behind Boban in the Group 3 Moonga Stakes (1400m), and stamped himself as a leading contender for the Railway Stakes with his narrow win in the Group 2 Warora-Lee Stakes (1400m) at Ascot just under a fortnight ago.
Kennewell told RSN this morning that Conservatorium’s victory in the Warora-Lee Stakes helped pay the bills for his trip to Perth and said that the Royal Academy gelding had taken plenty of benefit out of the run.
“It was a good win,” Kennewell said.
“We targeted it to get him over there earlier; it costs a little bit more money than what you would expect when you only have one horse on the flight.
“We got the right result and won the big race over there last weekend.
“He has come through it really well.”
Conservatorium recorded has recorded wins over 1050 metres, 1200 metres and 1400 metres but has only had one career start over a mile, when he finished a narrow second behind Fire Up Fifi in the Mercedes-Benz Mile (1600m) at Eagle Farm during the 2013 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.
Kennewell admits that even he doesn’t know what the best distance is for his versatile galloper but he is confident that he will have no trouble running out a strong mile in the Railway Stakes this weekend.
“He is Group 1 placed behind Platelet over 1200 and he got beat a nostril in a 1400 Group 2 in Brisbane and obviously won the Eye Liner up there,” Kennewell said.
“We tested the waters up there and went to the mile for the sheer fact that we wanted to know whether we could go to the mile for this preparation.
“He got beat right on the line by Fire Up Fifi and we had to give her about four or five kilos.
“I think the horse is best served at seven furlongs but obviously the only run he has had at a mile he got beaten a whisker so I think he will be right there on Saturday.”
The majority of the leading contenders fared poorly at the Railway Stakes barrier draw that was conducted yesterday morning but Kennewell believes that Conservatorium should get a lovely into the race from barrier eight after the emergencies are removed.
The Adelaide-based trainer said that Conservatorium will take his usual position towards the front of the field and is confident that his star galloper can make his own luck – unlike Mr Moet, Luckygray and Fire Up Fifi who will need plenty of luck after drawing towards the outside of the field.
“If you have a horse that can have good speed early in the race and is able to use that turn-of-foot around the bend you obviously don’t have to make up all that ground giving the other horses a head start,” Kennewell said.
“That is the reason he races like that and he is very tractable like that.
“I don’t see him getting back on Saturday and he will lob in the first half a dozen.
“I will be more keen to see him fourth, fifth or sixth and getting a nice run just off the speed.
“He gets out of the machine, he makes his own luck and he galloped really well yesterday at Breakfast With The Stars.”
Conservatorium is currently on the fifth line of Railway Stakes betting at odds of $15; with Smokin’ Joey ($4.20) a clear favourite from Longport ($6.50) and Fire Up Fifi ($8.50).