Beaten first up favourite Bantam will be on trial for a Blue Diamond Stakes campaign when he lines up in the $80,000 ADAPT Australia Handicap (1000m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Trainer John O’Shea is willing to give the Exceed And Excel colt another chance to prove himself after he was beaten just over four lengths when fifth as the $2.60 favourite to Prompt Return in the Group 3 $150,000 racing.com Maribyrnong Plate (1000m) at Flemington on November 8.
“Saturday will tell us whether we are aiming a little too high or whether he’s a legitimate chance of competing in one of the Diamond lead-ups,” O’Shea told Racing Network.
The first of the Blue Diamond lead up races is the Listed $120,000 Sportingbet Blue Diamond Preview (C&G) (1000m) at Sandown on January 26 followed by the Group 3 $150,000 Blue Diamond Prelude (C&G) (1100m) at Caulfield on February 14 with the Group 1 $1m Sportingbet Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) run at Caulfield on February 28.
O’Shea feels that things didn’t go his way at Flemington but with that race day experience to his credit is expecting Bantam to show his real ability on Saturday.
“He’s a horse of some ability and I felt he wasn’t afforded a true opportunity to show his ability the day he ran,” O’Shea said.
“We elected to come down the grandstand side and it was definitely a mistake.
“We want to give him another run. He’s come through his first start well and we wanted to give him the chance to run around a bend.”
Bantam has been installed the $3 favourite for the Australia Handicap with Ladbrokes.com.au just ahead of the Peter Moody trained first starter Palace Tycoon who bookies are keeping safe at $3.40.
Palace Tycoon scored an easy barrier trial win over 800m at Cranbourne on November 10 and will be making his race debut with the winkers on.
Miss Idyllic is on the third line of betting at $6 and the David Hayes and Tom Dabernig trained youngster has the most experience of the eleven starters with a second in the Listed $120,000 Inglis Debutant Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield on October 11 and a fourth in the Group 3 $150,000 Emirates Airline Plate (1000m) at Flemington on November 4.
Miss Gidget from the stables of Colin and Cindy Alderson is the next in the betting at $6.50 and is coming off a first up second to Thurlow in the Listed $120,000 Santa’s Magical Kingdom Stakes (1000m) at Sandown on November 15.