Conservatorium will return to the races in the 2014 Irwin Stakes at Morphettville on Saturday and Lloyd Kennewell is expecting a strong first-up effort from the consistent gelding.
Conservatorium has not been seen at the races since he finished his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a stint in Perth, wining both the Group 2 Waroa-Lee Steere Stakes (1400m) and Group 3 Scahill Stakes (1400m), and Kennewell told Racing Ahead that the son of Royal Academy was in good condition heading into the Irwin Stakes this weekend.
Kennewell is not expecting Conservatorium to record just the second first-up victory of his career, with a number of talented sprinters included in the 2014 Irwin Stakes field, but is confident the six-year-old will produce a good performance ahead of the Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville on May 24.
“He is really well and he has come up really nicely,” Kennewell said.
“He had a trial a fortnight ago at Gawler and he trialed nicely.
“He was obviously pretty fat for the trial and he is still a little bit bigger than where I would like him at, but that is all a part of the plan to have him peaking third run in for The Goodwood Handicap.
“I expect a good run out of him on Saturday and it will probably be a run where he won’t win, but he will run well.”
Conservatorium was taken to Queensland for the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival after finishing second behind Platelet in The Goodwood last year and performed well in three starts in the Group 2 QTC Cup (1300m), Listed Eye Liner Stakes (1350m) and Listed Mecedes-Benz Mile (1600m), but missed out on a race start in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m).
The Stradbroke Handicap is on the agenda for Conservatorium again and Kennewell believes his star galloper will have no problems getting into the field for the Group 1 sprint that will be run at Eagle Farm on June 7.
“The only difference is that he will be automatically in the Stradbroke field this year and he will probably go to the Doomben 10,000 after The Goodwood,” Kennewell said.
“Last year was the soundest that we have had him and I think that he is reaching that stage again.
“He loved his trip to Brisbane and if we can get a run in those good races and he can draw a good barrier he is going to run very well in whatever he goes around in.”
Conservatorium will need to be at his very best to start his autumn preparation with a win in the Irwin Stakes; with veteran gelding Esprit De Bullet, two-time Group 1 winner Platelet and Gai Waterhouse-trained Driefontein set to contest the Group 3 race.