Illustrious Lad is set to return to the races in the 2015 Magic Millions 3YO & 4YO Classic at Ballarat on Saturday and trainer Peter Gelagotis has revealed that the promising galloper is on trial for bigger and better things.
Illustrious Lad has shown plenty of talent since he made his debut at Morphettville in December of 2013 and he was a consistent performer during his recent winter campaign.
The son of I Am Invincible started his preparation with a win in the Browns Sawdust & Shavings Plate (1000m) at Cranbourne on April 10 and he won again at Geelong on April 29 before he finished fourth in the PFD Food Services Handicap (1200m) at Caulfield on May 16.
Illustrious Lad did not have a great deal of luck in the A.R. Creswick Series Heats (1000m) at Flemington on June 13 or June 27, but he returned to winning form in the Listed A.R. Creswick Series Final (1200m) at the same venue on July 11.
The four-year-old made the first public appearance of his summer campaign with a second place finish behind Nordic Empire in a barrier trial at Cranbourne on November 9 and Gelagotis is happy with the way that the last start winner has returned ahead of the Magic Millions 3YO & 4YO Classic, but he admits that the gelding still needs to make a step-up in quality this preparation as he takes on older horses for the first time.
“He’s not a three-year-old anymore,” Gelagotis told AAP.
“Some horses take the next step and some don’t and he needs to, so it will be an interesting learning curve on Saturday.
“It’s a tough field and the horse that takes that next step will win the race on Saturday.
“I thought he trialled pretty impressively and the opposition was handy enough.
“He’s come back in good order and seems to have matured a bit.
“Hopefully we can have a bit of luck in the run and he’ll be able to tell us where he’s at in his career.
“I think the horse that wins this race will be going on to bigger and better things.”
Illustrious Lad is currently available at 2015 Ballarat Magic Millions Classic odds of $6.50 with Ladbrokes, while Mark Kavanagh-trained Wild Rain ($2.80) is a clear favourite from the resuming Husson Eagle ($5.50).