Improvement is expected from nicely-bred youngster Reigning Meteor according to his Warrnambool-based trainer Matthew Williams who is looking forward to the three-year-old’s run in a heat of the AR Creswick Series at Flemington on Saturday.
Heats for a number of the feature winter series in Melbourne take place at the famous Flemington Racecourse on the weekend including Race 2 (12:15pm) – the $80,000 2015 A.R. Creswick Series Heat 5 (1100m).
The handicap clash, the $120,000 final for which takes place back at Flemington on July 11, has attracted a total of 13 hopefuls including 38-year-old Williams’ Northern Meteor gelding Reigning Meteor who targets that Listed Grand Final next month.
A winner of four of his 11 starts to date the up-and-comer is drawn out wide in barrier 12 and is allocated 58.5kg, which will drop to 57kg with the claim of his apprentice jockey Damien Thornton.
Two back the horse won first-up at home at Warrnambool over 1000m in a BenchMark 70 before his disappointing seventh at Flemington last time out on June 13.
That race was Heat 3 of the AR Creswick series and Reigning Meteor could only manage to cross three and a quarter lengths away from the Patrick Payne-trained winner Husson Eagle.
Husson Eagle isn’t part of the make-up in Heat 5 but other three-year-olds coming out of that same lead-up race include the Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra-trained favourite Rough Justice ($3.90) who was a nose off the winner in second and Darren Weir’s third placed Star Stealer.
A winner of his opening two career starts last October before resuming with the Heat 3 third, Time Thief gelding Star Stealer is also the second pick for Saturday’s rematch paying $4 in the latest markets at Ladbrokes thanks to a nice inside barrier one draw.
The odds on Reigning Meteor for the upset from out wide are far juicer, the galloper at a quote of around $21.
Williams, who prepared just 11 winners in the opening nine months of the 2014/15 season, is remaining hopeful however believing the horse to be on the up-and-up as is his winning strike rate as a trainer.
“At 1000 metres I think they were just a bit nippy for him in that grade but if it was on wet ground I think it might have been a different story,” Williams explained to Racing Victoria.
“Unfortunately you don’t seem to get wet tracks at Flemington but I think this race on Saturday being 1100 will suit him better and then the final over 1200m will suit him even better again.”
Williams also isn’t concerned about the double digit draw for his horse, believing it to be an advantage down the Flemington straight.
“He’s quite good down the straight, he races in a nice true line and I think he’s drawn well on Saturday being out in one of the wider barriers,” he said.
“He certainly has improved fitness-wise since the run at Flemington.
“He was only three lengths away and if he can get the right run and held up for one last crack at them he’ll be right in the mix and if we could just get some rain then I’d really grow in confidence.”
Things improved for the stable during Williams’ local Warrnambool Cup Carnival during May, since when he’s trained another 11 winners including one on each day of the three-meeting Carnival after targeting the festival.
He also enjoyed an upset in one of the Winter Champions Series legs at Flemington, where he’s after another upset this weekend, and was happy with the unexplained turn of fortune.
“We’ve got some horses that can handle wet tracks but there’s no real reason,” he said.
“Sometimes you just get on a bit of a roll and they all just seem to start racing well.
“The horses have all trained on really well since Warrnmabool and it’s certainly much easier to get out of bed in the morning when they’re running well.”