Trainer David Vandyke believes that Prince Cheri is back to his best ahead of the 2014 Scone Cup that will be run tomorrow afternoon.
Prince Cheri started his 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival with a fair sixth behind Boban and It’s Dundeel in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on March 8 and was found to be suffering from a back issue after finishing a disappointing eighth in the Group 3 Sky High Stakes (1900m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 22.
Vandyke told Racing Ahead that the Lando entire received treatment after scintigraphy scans diagnosed the problem and the five-year-old earned an opportunity in the Scone Cup after he scored an impressive two and a half lengths win in a barrier trial over 1200 metres at Royal Randwick last Friday.
“He is in good shape now and his last trial last week was impressive,” Vandyke said.
“He put them to the sword pretty quickly and he looked like the Prince Cheri of old; he really looked like he meant business and he ran through the line very strongly.
“His first trial was average and didn’t really impress me, but he certainly took a lot of benefit out of that.
“Subsequent to that most recent trial his work has been great.
“The mile should be perfect, it is a big track, he has a good barrier and Jay knows him back to front.
“If he can replicate the run that he put in, in the Chipping Norton, where he didn’t finish far behind Boban and It’s A Dundeel at weight-for-age, he should be hard to beat.”
Prince Cheri joined the Vandyke stable at the end of 2012 after previously being prepared by Mikel Dezangles in France and made his Australian racing debut with an impressive win in the Lynch Contractors Handicap (1550m) at Canterbury on March 8.
The five-year-old suffered an unlucky defeat in the Calcoup Knitwear Handicap (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 10 before stamping himself as the favourite for the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) with back-to-back wins in the Ranvet Handicap (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on August 31 and the Group 3 Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) at the same venue a fortnight later.
Prince Cheri was well-backed in the lead-up to The Metropolitan, but he was unable to make up ground in the final stages of the race and could only battle away to finish sixth.
Team Hawkes-trained Mecir ($5.50) is currently a narrow favourite in 2014 Scone Cup betting markets, but there has also been plenty of support for Prince Cheri who is now into a quote of $6.