Veteran West Australian trainer Fred Kersley has revealed talented stayer Ihtsahymn will not travel to Melbourne to contest events over the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival, but will instead remain in Perth in an effort to continue development.
Securing an impressive race record of seven wins and three places from just 14 competitive starts to date, Ihtsahymn finished no worse than second in four starts during his most recent preparation but is yet to prove himself as a legitimate contender against the country’s leading stayers, Kersley believes.
“He’s still yet to really prove himself for mine,” Kersley told Racing Victoria.
“He’s had the luxury of weight relief in most of the races that he’s contested this year which would disappear when he turns four. I mean, if you can beat Luckygray with a seven-kilo pull in the weights, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a better horse than Luckygray.
“The fact that he can beat those horses with a pull in the weights has not convinced me that he’s up to the level required to race interstate and be successful.”
Having proven his worth against fields boasting Western Australia’s best stayers, Kersley said a good performance over spring events in Perth will go a long way towards the Ihtiram gelding booking a ticket to Melbourne in autumn 2015.
“Simple, beat better horses at level weights,” Kersley said of Ihtsahymn’s chances of heading to Melbourne.
“We’ll just take baby-steps but it’s up to him from here on to prove himself.
“If he can do that in the carnival here, then the Melbourne Autumn Carnival is definitely on the agenda.”
A standout performer over the 2013 spring and summer, Ihtsahymn was unlucky to finish mid-field in each of his first two appearances on course before securing three impressive victories back-to-back in the Group 2 W.A. Guineas (1600m), Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) and Group 2 C.B. Cox Stakes (2100m).
Returning in similarly impressive form in 2014, the three-year-old out of Umatune finished second to Respondent in both the Listed Lex Piper Stakes (1600m) and Listed J.C. Roberts Stakes (1800m) before returning to the winner’s circle in the Listed Melvista Stakes (2200m) on March 29th.
Having finished second in the Group 2 W.A.T.C Derby (2400m) most recently on April 12th, Ihtsahymn has reportedly taken well to work since returning to Kersley’s Ascot stables a fortnight ago.