Trainer David Payne has revealed that veteran gelding Centennial Park will follow a familiar path to past years during the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
The son of Thorn Park impressed with a second place finish behind Singing To Win in a barrier trial over 1030 metres at Rosehill Gardens this morning, which also included classy stablemate Rock Hero, and Payne has no hesitation setting the eight-year-old for a campaign at the highest level of racing, even though he failed to record a race win during his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign.
“Centennial Park will follow the same path as he always does,” Payne said.
“He might as well own some of those races because he has been in them enough.”
Centennial Park will start his autumn preparation in the Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on February 8; in what will be his fifth start in the race after winning the race in 2011, finishing in the placings in 2012 and 2013 and finishing fourth behind Rangirangdoo in 2010.
He will likely have his next start in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on February 22, a race he has failed to win in three previous attempts, and his performance in that race will likely determine the path he will follow for the remainder of the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
Last year, Centennial Park finished seventh in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes and went on to win the Listed Super Saturday Stakes (1500m) at Flemington before finishing sixth in both the Group 2 Ajax Stakes (1500m) and Listed Pink Ribbon Cup (1400m), but in previous years has been stepped up to Group 1 level after competing in the Apollo Stakes.
Centennial Park contested the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) in 2010 and 2011, finishing sixth and seventh respectively, and took part in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) in 2010, 2011 and 2012, but was unable to finish in the top ten, and failed to fire in the 2011 and 2012 editions of the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m).
The veteran of 54 race starts needs just $2250 in prizemoney to top the $1 million mark for his career and is chasing his first win at Group level since he took out the 2011 edition of the Expressway Stakes as well as his maiden Group 1 victory.