After missing a Moonee Valley run earlier in the month Lionel Cohen’s Group 1 placed sprinter Aeronautical is back on track and in “good shape” ahead of Thursday’s Standish Handicap according to his trainer.
The Rosehill-based Cohen was forced to turn a float around when travelling from Sydney to Melbourne a few weeks back after his smart Encosta De Lago six-year-old Aeronautical “banged himself” three hours into the trip to a Moonee Valley night meet.
That leaves the gelding without a run for the month, the $459,000 earner last seen running sixth behind Our Boy Malachi in the Listed Starlight Stakes (1100m) at his home track on November 29.
Despite the setback Cohen remains unfazed heading into the $150,000 Group 3 Standish Handicap (1200m) at Flemington Racecourse on New Year’s Day.
Cohen said the Standish Handicap had always been the horse’s goal and that his recent work and condition suggests to him he can reproduce his best form.
“The Standish has always been his goal,” he told TVN on Monday.
“He was alright, but I just felt it was a bit too much. You can’t go into these races with a small problem, it’s all in or nothing.
“The horse is in good shape. I’m happy with his condition and the way he’s working.”
The galloper hasn’t won a race since a first-up effort at Randwick’s Kensington track over 12 months ago when defeating Heart Testa in the Listed Razor Sharp Handicap (1150m).
He is best known however for his close third behind star performers Shamexpress (1st) and Moment Of Change (2nd) when beaten only a long neck in the $1 million Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington in March last year.
Cohen believes he can reproduce that stellar effort in the Standish Handicap and is looking forward to the January 1st Victorian feature.
“I think he can run that sort of race (Newmarket placing) again,” he said.
“If he travels well, he’ll run well.”
Along with confirming Aeronautical’s acceptance into the Standish Handicap field, Cohen also announced Damien Oliver as his jockey for Thursday’s feature.
Oliver has ridden the horse once before when fourth behind Landing in the Listed South Pacific Classic (1400m) at Randwick back in April of 2012.
Also confirmed for a Standish Handicap bid on January 1 today is the now Archie Alexander-trained Amorino to debut for his new horseman in the feature after an 18-month stint in Western Australia with Grant Williams.