The 2014 Darley Classic preparations of Slade Power hit a hurdle this morning after the leading European sprinter played up in the barriers before a jump out down the Flemington straight this morning.
Slade Power is a notorious barrier rogue who always wears a barrier hood when he enters the stalls and the Dutch Art entire took great exception when he was left in the barriers for longer than usual without his hood on.
Trainer Ed Lynam confirmed that Slade Power had not suffered an injury during the barrier mishap and he went on to work strongly down the Flemington straight, but Lynam admits that the barrier manners of his star sprinter is a concern heading into the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 8.
“I’m led to believe that he went into stall no problem then the rider took the hood off and then the horse kicked out,” Lynam said.
“When he took the hood off he got upset.
“He didn’t get upset instantly, but he got upset a few seconds after the hood was removed.
“We just have to go through it with the starter in Australia, because different countries have different rules and let’s hope we can get it right on the day in the gate.
“As the trainer, I’ve got to get my horse organised in the gates and after that he’s got to run like hell to beat your sprinters.”
Slade Power has overcome his barrier issues to stamp himself as the best sprinter in Europe this year after he recorded impressive wins in the Group 3 Greenlands Stakes (1207m) at Curragh on May 24, the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes (1207m) at Royal Ascot on June 21 and the Group 1 July Cup (1207m) at Newmarket on July 12.
Lynam admits that Slade Power will have to perform at his very best to beat the likes of Lankan Rupee in the Darley Classic, but he is delighted to have the opportunity to test his star galloper against some of the best sprinters in the world.
“We think our horse is the best in Europe,” Lynam said.
“He is the highest rated, he is unbeaten this year and he has run the big European six’s.
“We are coming out here to see how he measures up to the best of the Australians.
“Every time I look at the form of your horses it looks very strong, but that is what international racing is all about and we are delighted to have the opportunity to do it.
“We just hope we have our horse organised on the day that he gives his best.”
Slade Power is currently available at Darley Classic odds of $5.50, while Chautauqua ($2.70) remains a clear favourite from Manikato Stakes winner Lankan Rupee ($5).