Jockey Nick Hall has been given the all clear to reunite with three year old Petrology in the Group 3 $150,000 Manfred Stakes (1300m) at Sandown on Monday.
Hall partnered Petrology to a comfortable two and a quarter lengths win in the Group 2 $300,000 Sportingbet Sandown Guineas (1600m) at Sandown at the end of the 2014 Melbourne Spring Carnival and was keen to keep the association going.
But Hall was in danger of being unavailable for the ride on Monday after being suspended for ten meetings for careless riding at Mornington on January 16.
But Hall’s appeal against the severity of the suspension was cut back by two meetings by the Racing Appeals & Disciplinary Board allowing him to be free to ride at the Australia Day Sandown meeting.
Hall has also picked up the ride on the John O’Shea first starter Demonstrate in the Listed $120,000 Sportingbet Blue Diamond Preview (C&G) (1000m).
The New Approach colt finished second in a recent 800m barrier trial at Sandown and a good performance will see him progress towards the Group 1 $1m Sportingbet Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 28.
Co-trainer Tom Dabernig said that Petrology would head towards the Group 1 $500,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 7 and is expecting a forward showing against the three year olds in the Manfred Stakes.
“I think first-up will be a good indicator of where he’s at,” Dabernig, who trains in partnership with David Hayes, said.
“But his main goal is third-up in the Australian Guineas if he’s going well enough at the time.”
Dabernig has been pleased with the Fastnet Rock colt on the tracks in the lead up to his return to the races and said his fitness has been boosted by a recent jump out.
“He narrowly won the jump-out and he’s going well,” Dabernig said.
“He’s a Fastnet Rock colt who doesn’t carry a lot of excess condition.
“Some of them are quite big, heavy-framed horses but he’s quite athletic and he’s come to hand very quickly.
“I think he’ll be pretty forward for that race of the 26th.”
Petrology took a long time to find any sort of form in the early part of the Spring but once the Dabernig – Hayes team stepped the three year old up in distance he found another lease of life and won the Listed $150,000 TCL 4K UHD TV Stakes over 1800m at Flemington on November 6 before his Sandown Guineas win.
The Manfred Stakes has attracted sixteen nominations and includes Mick Price’s promising colt Moonovermanhattan, two year old winners from last season Tan Tat Diamond from the Peter Moody stable and the Tony McEvoy trained Affirmation, and the Lee and Anthony Freedman trained Java who is working his way up through the grades with a hat trick of wins at Kilmore, Mornington and Sandown.