Illustrious Lad is set to return to the races in the Mitchelton Wines Handicap (1000m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday and trainer Peter Gelagotis is hoping that the promising juvenile can step-up to the highest level of racing during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
Illustrious Lad made his racing debut with a strong win in the Boxing Day Family Races Plate (1000m) at Morphettville on December 21 and was sent to Caulfield for the Group 3 Chairman’s Stakes (1100m) on February 1, but failed to fire and finished at the tail of the field.
Gelagotis told Racing Ahead this morning that Illustrious Lad had excuses for his poor showing in the Chairman’s Handicap and revealed that the son of I Am Invincible had been gelded during his stint in the spelling paddock.
“On the day out the back in the stalls, he got very colty where he showed no signs of that in Adelaide; he was very relaxed and very composed,” Gelagotis said.
“He lost his way at his second start and unfortunately he ran his way before he got out to the start.
“We were mindful of that when he came back in and we gelded him straight away.
“He will hopefully present like a true racehorse should.”
Illustrious Lad will resume over 1000 metres in the Mitchelton Wines Handicap at Moonee Valley this weekend and Gelagotis believes that the race may be too short for the rising three-year-old.
Gelagotis is of the opinion that Illustrious Lad may be a better horse when he is given an opportunity over a longer distance and revealed that he is likely to include the promising galloper in the nominations for both the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) and Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m).
“He has done about 12 weeks of work, so he has had a nice steady preparation and we just brought him along quietly,” Gelagotis said.
“Whatever he does he is going to improve three-fold and I think that he might get a bit of a trip the horse.
“He will step out to 1400 at some stage in his campaign.
“I have a gut feeling that he may get a little bit further.
“Hopefully he takes the next step and he can be a spring contender.”
Gelagotis has not had a runner in the Caulfield Guineas, but finished fourth in the 2012 edition of the Victoria Derby with Hvasstan.