Keen Array will wear the blinkers for the first time to help boost his chances in the Group 1 $1m Crown Perth-Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot in Perth on Saturday.
The Lindsay Park trained Keen Array kicked off his Spring Carnival preparation in fine style with a second and two wins from his first three starts but was well beaten at his latest outing when seventh to Winterbottom Stakes rival Malaguerra in the Group 1 $1m Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 5.
“He will go into blinkers for the first time and I think it looks a nice race for him, a competitive race of course,” co-trainer Tom Dabernig said.
Dabernig said that Keen Array has settled in well into his new surroundings in Perth and worked strongly on the course proper at Ascot last Saturday morning under the eye of co-trainer David Hayes.
“Keen Array has settled in really well. David has been very happy with him,” Dabernig said.
“He had a good bit of work on the course proper there last Saturday.”
Keen Array found winning form during the 2015 Melbourne Spring Carnival before running second to Japonisme in the Group 1 $500,000 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington and was back in the winner’s stall second up this campaign in the Listed $120,000 Fight Cancer Foundation Testa Rossa Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on September 17.
The Bel Esprit four year old then made it back to back wins with victory in the Listed $120,000 Italktravel Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on October 12.
Keen Array was then beaten less than two lengths when fourth to Illustrious Lad in the Group 2 $300,000 tab Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on October 29 before running seventh in the Darley Classic.
Former Perth based jockey Chris Parnham takes over from Stephen Baster on Keen Array who will jump from barrier four in the twelve horse Winterbottom Stakes.
Keen Array is marked as one of the outsiders of the Winterbottom Stakes field at $21 with Ladbrokes.com.au while stablemate Sheidel is the more fancied of the two Lindsay Park runners at $11.
The Peter Gelagotis trained Malaguerra has a slight advantage at $3.40 at the top of the market order over Joe Pride’s Terravista at $3.50 with Rock Magic the best of the local sprinters at $8.