Progressive stayer Laidback Larry is set to return to the races at Royal Randwick on Saturday after being included in the acceptances for the Shoot Out Handicap.
Laidback Larry has had just 11 race starts since making his debut at Kembla Grange in Marc of 2012, but stamped himself as a stayer to watch during his summer preparation.
The O’Reilly gelding resumed with a comfortable two lengths win in the Australian Turf Club Handicap (1580m) at Canterbury on December 18 before leading all the way to score a dominant five and a half lengths victory over a mile at Royal Randwick on January 1.
Laidback Larry scored another comfortable win in the TAB Rewards Handicap (2000m) at Royal Randwick on January 18 and went into the Listed Mornington Cup Prelude (200m) at Caulfield on February 1 as an odds-on favourite, but could finish no better than fifth and he finished a disappointing tenth in the Listed Mornington Cup (2400m) on February 12.
Gai Waterhouse stable foreman Mark Newnham confirmed that Laidback Larry would take his place in the Shoot Out Handicap field this weekend and he is hopeful that the four-year-old can return to his best form after nothing went his way in his last two starts in Melbourne.
“Gai was back last week in time to look at him and she is happy enough to kick him off this week,” Newnham told AAP.
“Melbourne didn’t really work out for him,” Newnham said.
“It could have been a combination of things; he went up in grade and he had a trip away.”
“He’s a horse that likes to go along at a good gallop and he never got that opportunity down there.”
Newnham still believes that Laidback Larry has plenty of development left in front of him, but is hoping that he can score a maiden black type victory during his spring preparation; with the Listed Wyong Gold Cup (2100m) on September 5 and the Group 3 Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m) on September 18 both on the agenda for the promising stayer.
“He’s typical of the O’Reilly breed in that he’s a late maturer,” Newnham said.
“He might be a similar horse to Herculean Prince or something like that at the same stage.
“He’s got a similar racing style.”
Laidback Larry is set to face seven rivals in the Shoot Out Handicap; with leading Sydney trainer Chris Waller including Bagman, Eigelstein, I’m Imposing and Disciple in the acceptances for the $85,000 race.