Trainer Noel Mayfield–Smith has confirmed that tough sprinter Famous Seamus is on track to return to racing in the 2015 Challenge Stakes at Royal Randwick on March 7.
Famous Seamus was sent to the spelling paddock after he finished a credible sixth in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 8 and he made his first public appearance of his autumn campaign when he finished third in a barrier trial over 800 metres at Hawkesbury on February 16.
The Elusive City gelding performed well in his two race starts in Melbourne during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival, highlighted by a third place finish in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m), but Mayfield-Smith told RSN this morning that he elected not to take his star galloper to Melbourne for races like the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on Saturday or the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at the same venue on March 14 because he never looked comfortable running down the straight in the Darley Classic.
“What came out of his run in the Darley was that he wasn’t as good in the straight and he seemed to get a bit lost,” Mayfield-Smith said.
“He is a horse that strangely enough works off the markers of the position of the track to make his run and he sort of does it on his own.
“Once he straightens he really finds the bit, but down the straight he didn’t know where he was, so we decided to bypass those races.
“It is a fairly big concern really because he is also no good on tracks that cut up, which was his problem in Brisbane.
“It is a pretty narrow sort of window where he performs best on in terms of the track.”
Famous Seamus is set to return to the highest level of racing in the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 21 after he returns to racing in the Challenge Stakes before he potentially returns to Melbourne for the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on March 27.
The six-year-old has been a consistent sprinter for a number of seasons, but he had a breakout year in 2014 and proved that he was capable of mixing it with the very best sprinters in the country.
Famous Seamus upset the likes of Spirit Of Boom and Temple Of Boom to win the Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) in Brisbane and he went on to win the Group 2 Premiere Stakes (1200m) in Sydney and finished a desperately unlucky third in the Manikato Stakes.