Ihtsahymn will start his 2015 Spring Racing Carnival preparation at Flemington on Saturday, but will not contest the Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m).
Ihtsahymn was included in the nominations for both the Aurie’s Star Handicap and the 1400 metre handicap worth $90,000, but trainer Patrick Payne told Racing Ahead this morning that the five-year-old does not have the speed to be competitive in the Aurie’s Star Handicap and will instead contest the easier race.
“He is definitely going for the 1400 metre race,” Payne said.
“I put him in the Aurie Star just in case he got too much work in the 1400 metre race, but I think the 1400 metre race will suit him much better.
“I thought up the straight would suit, but those horses would be too sharp for him and 1400 metres around Flemington will be ideal.”
Ihtsahymn was the star performer of the 2013 Perth Summer Racing Carnival after taking out the Group 2 Western Australian Guineas (1600m), Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) and Group 2 Cox Stakes (2100m), but he was unable to replicate that form as a four-year-old and he has not been seen at the races since he finished 12th in the Group 2 Perth Cup (2400m) at Ascot on New Year’s Day.
The Ihtiram gelding joined the Payne stable before the start of the 2015 Melbourne Festival Of Racing, but he failed to come up and was sent to the spelling paddock before coming back for his spring campaign that will begin this weekend.
“He has been here for quite a while,” Payne said.
“He came in and he had a preparation, but his action wasn’t right and there were a few things wrong with him, so we stopped, put him out and got started again.
“This preparation we have been very happy with him and all the way through his work has been very good.
“He was a very good horse as a three-year-old and he had a flat season as a four-year-old, so he needs to get off the canvas a little bit, but I’m more happy with him this preparation than I was last preparation.”
Ihtsahymn has recorded seven wins from his 21 race starts and he will take his career earnings to over $1 million if he is able to finish in the top two this weekend.
A total of 18 horses were included in the nominations for the 1400 metres handicap and Ihtsahymn could take on horses like Australian Cup runner-up Extra Zero, Group 1 placegetter Desert Jeuney and the in-form Charmed Harmony.