Australian Oaks winner Gust Of Wind has returned from a spell bigger and stronger as she is prepared for a tough Sydney Autumn Carnival campaign.
The John Sargent trained mare showed plenty of staying potential with her win in the Group 1 $1m Seven News Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick during ‘The Championships’ last year’s and the Group 1 $2m Schweppes Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick on April 9 is her main Autumn target.
“She is thirty-two kilos heavier. She has done a treat,” Sargent told Sky Racing’s Racing HQ.
“I have just started to pick her up now at pace work with a bit of speed work so she will be trialling here at Randwick on next Friday the 29th, and probably kick off in the Apollo Stakes.”
“I’d say you won’t see the best of her until she peaks over 2000m or more.””
“Her main aim will be centred around the ninth of April, the Sydney Cup and then Melbourne in the Spring.”
The Darci Brahma mare is likely to kick off her Autumn campaign in the Group 2 $250,000 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on February 13.
Gust Of Wind also performed well during the Melbourne Spring Carnival with a solid fifth to Mongolian Khan in the Group 1 $3m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield followed by a sixth to Prince Of Penzance in the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington after striking trouble in the straight.
“She hit the line very strongly (in the Melbourne Cup) so she is right up there with the best of the stayers about,” Sargent said.
Sargent sent Gust Of Wind straight to the paddock for a spell following her bruising run in the Melbourne Cup and is happy with the way she has returned to his Randwick stables.
“I gave her a good break, she would have over five weeks after Melbourne,” Sargent said.
“She went straight to the paddock the next day.”
Even though Gust Of Wind returned to the stable with excess condition and she doesn’t exert herself on the training track, Sargent said that he had plenty of time to have her at her peak for Sydney Cup.
“She is very lazy track worker, so she does carry quite a deal of condition so you have to race her into her form.” Sargent said.
“She just does what she wants on the track so that is why she is quite a lot heavier now than when she raced in the Melbourne Cup.”
“But that will come off slowly. We have over two months to get her at her peak for the race we are after.”
“She is probably good enough to be competitive in a BMW or when she gets to mile or more. We know she had a very good run in the Turnbull at Flemington so hopefully she can get some money on the way through.”
In early Sydney Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au, Gust Of Wind is the equal favourite at $10 with the Lee and Anthony trained Our Ivanhowe.
The Chris Waller pair of Preferment and Who Shot Thebarman are next in the market order at $11 ahead of the Lindsay Park trained import Almoonqith at $13.