Muswellbrook trainer Todd Willan is considering backing up his star sprinter Artlee in the Group 3 $125,000 Darley BRC Sprint (1350m) at Doomben on Saturday.
Artlee ran a mighty race at his first attempt in Group 1 company when seventh to Malaguerra in the Group 1 $500,000 BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben last Saturday and is one of fourteen nominations for the BRC Sprint.
The five year old was lucky to escape injury when he struck trouble just after crossing the finish line resulting in his jockey Michael Cahill being dislodged and taking a heavy tumble.
Willan said that Artlee took no harm from the scrimmage and looked bright on Sunday morning after eating up overnight.
“He walked out sound and ate everything (Saturday night) so he seems to have come through the run unscathed,” Willan told The Courier-Mail.
“I’ve never backed him up before but I’ve never been worried about it. He’s always fresh in himself and it might just take the edge off him because he’s such a headstrong horse.”
Willan’s main Brisbane Winter Carnival target for Artlee is the Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 11 and he is hoping the Excellent Art gelding can win the BRC Sprint to add some weight to his Stradbroke Handicap credentials.
Cahill has also come through last Saturday’s fall without any serious injury and is confident of riding at Saturday’s meeting.
The experienced Brisbane jockey feels that the bigger stretches at Eagle Farm will suit the big striding Artlee better after he got a bit bottled up back in the field after jumping from barrier four.
“He just couldn’t go early and in hindsight he would have probably been better drawing 10 than inside,” Cahill said.
“He will improve significantly when he gets on to the bigger track.”
Artlee has shown gradual improvement during the Autumn and made up plenty of ground at his previous start when third behind Fell Swoop and Didntcostalot in the Group 2 $200,000 National Fire Industry Association QLD Victory Stakes (1200m) at Doomben April 30.
Artlee is well in the betting for the Stradbroke Handicap at $13 with Ladbrokes.com.au.
The Ciaron Maher trained Azkadellia heads the market order at $4.40 ahead of the Darren Weir trained Black Heart Bart at $7, BTC Cup winner Malaguerra at $9 and Delectation and Ghisonu both at $11
Also on the $13 line with Artlee is the BTC Cup runner up Dothraki and Randwick Guineas winner Le Romain.