Hvasstan has not recorded a race win in over 12 months, but trainer Peter Gelagotis is confident that the Group 3 winner is capable of returning to winning form in the 2014 Ballarat Cup on Sunday.
Hvasstan started his 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a strong second behind stablemate Mourinho in the 1500 Metres Handicap at Moonee Valley on August 23, but has been unable to add a fifth race win to his resume in his six subsequent starts.
Gelagotis told RSN that Hvasstan has been disappointing in a number of his race starts this preparation, but he was happy with the effort of the Fastnet Rock entire when he hit the line fairly to finish fourth in the Secondbite Plate (2000m) at Flemington and believes that the five-year-old will be suited by the step-up to 2200 metres for the Ballarat Cup.
“He is penciled in for Saturday and Craig Newitt is booked to ride,” Gelagotis said.
“I am really looking forward to him running and seeing if we can salvage something of the wreck for this preparation.
“Some of his runs have been credible without winning and I thought that his last run had a lot of merit on a track that was very much on-pace bias.
“For a first time in a long time he actually let down on a firm surface and wanted to attack the line late.
“Going into the race with an extra couple of hundred metres it actually reads well for us and I am very hopeful that he carries that same form and he performs at his very best he has to be a live chance.”
Hvasstan was given an opportunity at Group level after his promising first-up run, but he finished at the tail of the field in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 6, but he failed to beat home a single runner before he produced an improved performance in the Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) at the same venue on September 26.
The 2012 Norman Robinson Stakes winner was found to be suffering from respiratory issues after he finished 11th in the Moe Cup (2050m) on October 16 and missed the start in the City Jeep Handicap (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 24 before his fourth place finish in the Secondbite Plate on Victoria Derby Day.
Hvasstan will need to return to his best to be any chance in the Ballarat Cup after the likes of Epingle, Pheidon, Count Of Limonade, Vilanova and Tango’s Daughter were included in the nominations for the $200,000 race that were released yesterday.