Trainer Patrick Payne has revealed that the 2016 Hobart Cup will be the long-term goal for Group 1 winner Ihtsahymn.
Ihtsahymn was the star horse of the 2013 Perth Summer Racing Carnival and he took out the Group 2 Western Australian Guineas (1600m), Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) and Group 2 Cox Stakes (2100m) as a three-year-old, but he has been unable to replicate that form as an older horse.
The Ihtiram gelding was transferred to the care of Payne after he finished 12th in the Group 2 Perth Cup (2400m), but he failed to finish in the placings in his three race starts and he was sent for a break following his ninth place finish behind Digtialism at Moonee Valley on September 5.
Ihtsahymn made the first public appearance of his summer campaign with a soft hit-out in a barrier trial over 800 metres at Cranbourne this morning and Payne told Racing.com that he is happy with the way that the five-year-old is progressing ahead of his racing return.
“I thought it was pretty good,” Payne said.
“It was an 800 metre trial and that is well short of his distance, but he looked to be striding along quite well and he pulled up really well fitness wise.
“I am really happy with him, but he worked really well last prep and he seemed to travel really well in his races from about the 600 to the 200 and in the last 200 he wasn’t gritting his teeth.
“We are going to try and work on his confidence and hopefully get him back in winning form.”
Payne confirmed that Ihtsahymn will return to the races at Ballarat Cup Day, but he said that it will be the Hobart Cup on February 8 that will be the long-term goal for Ihtsahymn.
Ihtsahymn has not scored a race win since he took out the Listed Melvista Stakes (2200m) at Ascot in March of 2014 and Payne said that the gelding would need to score a metropolitan win this preparation to show that he is worthy of the trip to Tasmania.
“He might kick-off on Ballarat Cup Day just in a 1200 metre race,” Payne said.
“If he could win a couple of Saturday races that would be great and if he is going well enough to warrant a trip over to Tasmania for the Hobart Cup than that would be great as well.
“We have plenty of time and if he puts his hand up to say that he is good enough we will go for it, but he will probably have a good for runs before that race.
“If he wins a Saturday race in town that would warrant that he is good enough to go.”
Ihtsahymn has recorded seven wins from his 24 race starts and has accumulated just under $1 million in prizemoney.