Talented gelding Oltre Finito has tested the patience of Mark Kavanagh but the leading trainer believes he has the behavior of the former bad boy under control ahead of the Fiesta Star Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Oltre Finito showed plenty of ability as a colt but took a great deal of time to actually make his racing debut after injuring himself before the start of the race when making his maiden raceday appearance at Seymour last year.
The son of Iffraaj finally made his racing debut with a victory in the Plinius Engineering Plate (1100m) at Ballarat on April 21 and recorded a dominant five lengths win in a race on the Geelong Synthetic in May before scoring his maiden metropolitan victory in the Browns Sawdust & Shavings Handicap (1400m) at Sandown on May 15.
Kavanagh admits that Oltre Finito has been very difficult to deal with but said that he has been happy with the behavior of the four-year-old since he returned to his stable for his second racing campaign in October.
“He is a bit of a pirate,” Kavanagh told Racing Ahead.
“His first start he bucked Glen Boss on the way to the gate and ran through two fences and didn’t run for two months.
“He won his first race and threw Steven King off after the line.
“He has been a bit hard to handle and he has tested my attitude a few times.
“We have him going ok and he has been gelded.
“He is behaving and everything is good now.”
Oltre Finito returned to racing with a narrow second place finish by Team Hawkes-trained Laohu in a handicap event over 1400 metres at Bendigo on November 27; a horse that John Hawkes believes is good enough to compete at Group level.
Kavanagh is hopeful that Oltre Finito can return to the winners stall in the Fiesta Star Handicap this weekend but admits that he is unsure how the gelding will handle his first attempt down the famous Flemington straight.
“He was beaten by a Hawkes runner and they actually tipped it to be a week before,” Kavanagh said.
“I thought mine was unbeaten so you would want to be good but they beat us fair and square but my horse does take a lot of improvement.
“Barrier one down the straight is certainly a query with these sort of horses but we will have to wait and see how he goes.”
Oltre Finito ($5) is a narrow favourite in Fiesta Star Handicap betting markets from Chow Meow ($6.50), Spending ($7) and Innocent Hero ($8.50).