Trainer Mick Price is expecting a huge fitness improvement from Flying Artie after the brilliant colt returned to the race track with a win in the Group 3 $350,000 Catanach’s Jewellers Blue Sapphire Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield today.
Flying Artie was having his first run for almost seven months after running third to Capitalist in the Group 1 $3.5m Longines Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill in March and showed in the straight that he is still a bit green.
Price said that Flying Artie would have to improve his racing manners if he is to beat a smart crop of three year olds, including stalemate Extreme Choice in the Group 1 $500,000 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on October 29.
“He did a lot wrong,” Price said.
“He got to the 100m out and thought that was it and clocked off. He took a bit of riding.”
“I am glad I ran him because he raced like a horse that needs racing. So obviously there is only eighteen days until the Coolmore which is the race we need to win with him.
“Today will help, he hasn’t been to the races for a long time. His trials have been here and I think he just raced pretty green then. Just raced like a horse that needs racing.
“I am just a bit concerned as to how green he was. Each race is different and I am just glad I ran him.”
“The experience will do him good for the Coolmore and the run will do him good fitness wise.”
“Anyway it was great that he won today.”
Winning jockey Damien Oliver had Flying Artie ($2 favourite) quickly into stride from barrier four and settled him just behind the leader Dalradian ($81) in the early and middle stages.
Oliver eased around the leaders heel on the home turn but Dalradian wouldn’t give in without a fight when Flying Artie moved up alongside of him at the 300m.
Oliver thought he was in for an easy win but Flying Artie started to run around and lose concentration but was quickly woken up when Oliver got down to business over the final 50m to draw away to record a one and a half lengths win over Dalradian with Derryn ($7.50) running home to fill third spot.
$5 second favourite Ken’s Dream raced on Flying Artie’s heels during the run but faded in the straight to miss a place to finish in fourth position.