Imported Gai Waterhouse-trained stayer Michelangelo is set to make his Australian racing debut in the Listed Premier’s Cup (1800m) at Rosehill Gardens on August 31.
Michelangelo arrived in Australia with high expectations and was expected to be a leading contender for the 2013 Melbourne Cup (3200m) but has failed to fire in two recent barrier trial performances.
The son of Galileo was run off his feet when finishing seventh behind stablemate Fiorente in a barrier trial over 1400 meters at Randwick in July and fared little better behind Carlton House in a trial at the same venue on August 2.
Waterhouse stable foreman Mark Newnham admitted that Michelangelo has taken a while to get use to Australian conditions and believes we might not see the best of the four-year-old until his second preparation.
“Physically he is a little bit behind the others,” Newnham told Sky Racing HQ.
“I have found that, watching the other European stayers, they sometimes need the twelve months to adapt to the way that we do things and acclimatize to the weather.
“He hasn’t had as long here as some of our others and he has taken a little bit longer to settle in.”
If Michelangelo can return to the form that he exhibited in Great Britain last year, he could be a serious threat in races over a suitable staying distance.
The entire debuted with an impressive third place finish behind classy colt Noble Mission in the Listed Qatar Racing Newmarket Stakes (2011m) and recorded his first victory in the Listed Casco Cocked Hat Stakes (2212m) at Goodwood.
Michelangelo scored another win in the Tattersalls Millions Three-Year-Old Cup (2414m) at Newmarket and performed well when stepping up in class to finish third in both the Group 3 Gordon Stakes (2414m) and the Group 1 St Leger Stakes (2937m).
Waterhouse has had previous success with imported stayers in the Premier’s Cup, winning the race with Glencadam Gold last year.