Trainer Mick Price will saddle a triple-pronged attack in the Listed Lord Stakes (1600m), otherwise known as the Master Yearlings Heat 2 Stakes, at Sandown Racecourse on Boxing Day.
Mighty Like is the $4.40 favourite in the betting market at Ladbrokes.com.au while Tango’s Daughter is paying $9 and Aeratus is out at $16.
While the odds may tell a relatively straight-forward story, Price cannot split his runners, believing there is little between Mighty Like and Aeratus.
“Mighty Like and Aeratus are both nice horses, I worked them here at Caulfield on Tuesday together over 1200m and their jockeys couldn’t split them,” Price told Racing Victoria.
“I think Aeratus has probably got a little bit more class but there’s honestly not much between them.”
Mighty Like is favourite after winning four of his past five starts, including the City Of Ballarat Tonks Plate (1200m) and The Lola’s Gift Handicap (1400m) this campaign. The five-year-old gelding will jump from barrier nine with Dean Yendall in the saddle for the second time in a row.
Aeratus has scored a start five gates in from Mighty Like and will carry the minimum weight of 54kg with Glen Boss to ride. The five-year-old gelding had a great autumn-winter campaign, winning five of his six starts including the Provincial Plate (1610m), however he was only ok at Sandown on December 6 in a Benchmark 84 – his sole start this campaign.
“Aeratus is an easy horse to ride but we’ll probably have to look after him a bit because he’s got plenty of condition on him,” Price said.
“I have targeted him at this race and he’s worked up towards it but there’s nothing like race day conditioning so he might be a little bit soft but it wouldn’t surprise me if he won.
“[Meanwhile] it was a good win by Mighty Like the other day at Flemington.
“He is very honest, very tough and the fittest of the three so I’d probably lean towards him but there honestly isn’t much between them.”
Price isn’t as confident about Tango’s Daughter’s chances after the four-year-old finished just outside the placings her last three times out. While she won the Group 2 Queen Of The South (1600m) in Adelaide back in April, the mare couldn’t find success in Melbourne during the spring.
Perhaps an inside start from barrier one will give her the boost she needs to finish strong on the line in the Lord Stakes.
“She’s very consistent and she’s a Stakes winner in Adelaide but I just can’t seem to get her past that,” he said.
“Her form against the better horses is as good as I can get it, I’ve had no excuses with her and she’s sound and fit but she just lacks the last 200 metre sectional to go and win these races.
“She’ll be thereabouts and put herself in the race but she’s had plenty of chances to savage the line and she just grinds away but hopefully she can run well.”
The Tony McEvoy-trained Mouro is $4.80 second favourite in the Lord Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au despite finishing end of the field in the Listed Festival Stakes last time out while Backstedt ($6) and Tax Evader ($8) round out the single figure odds.