Trainer David Hayes has high Spring Carnival hopes for English import Velox who is making a low key campaign opener in the $40,000 Bushnell Outdoor Products BenchMark 90 Handicap (1400m) at Sandown Lakeside today.
Hayes has labelled Velox in the same mould as his other English import Spillway who he developed into a Group 1 winner when he defeated stablemate Extra Zero in the $1m Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington during the 2015 Melbourne Autumn Carnival.
While Hayes definitely thinks Velox will develop quickly during the Spring, he is anticipating that he will show his best form in the Autumn next year.
“I think he’ll be winning races in the Spring, but I like him as a horse like Spillway, who might be a real Australian Cup horse in the autumn,” Hayes told racing.com.
“If he invites himself into the good races, he’ll head to them, but he’s quite down in the ratings.”
Velox has only two wins to his credit at Leicester over 1650m and Sandown Park over 1600m in England before arriving at Lindsay Park to be prepared by Hayes and co-trainer Tom Dabernig.
Hayes gave the six year old gelding his first Australian start at Morphettville in early May for a second over 1600m in a BenchMark 90 Handicap and even though he expects further improvement this campaign, might find the 1400m first up today a bit short.
“That run was OK – especially for his first run in Australia,” Hayes said.
“They normally improve a lot in their second prep.”
Even though Hayes thinks Velox won’t realise his full potential until the Autumn he has nominated him for all the upcoming Group 1 features in the Spring, the $1m The Star Epsom (1600m) and the $750,000 The Metropolitan (2400m), both at Randwick on October 3, the $3m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 17 and the 1 $3m William Hill Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 24.
Velox, with Dwayne Dunn aboard, is well in the market for the BenchMark 90 Handicap today with Ladbrokes.com.au offering $5.50.
The Lee and Anthony Freedman trained Minnesinger heads the betting at $3.30 while German import Takenja from the Mick Price stable is also marked as a $5.50 chance.