Shanghai Warrior will be return to Group level for the first time this preparation in the Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on Saturday and trainer Pat Hyland believes that the talented sprinter is in great shape ahead of the $150,000 race.
Shanghai Warrior bowed a tendon during his autumn campaign in 2013 and the issue kept him away from the races for over twelve months before returning in a heat of the All Victorian Sprint Series (1100m) at Flemington on June 14.
The Elvstroem gelding has finished in the placings in each of his three starts since making his return to the races and Hyland told Racing Ahead that he is hoping the month long break between races will help the six-year-old return to winning form in the Aurie’s Star Handicap this weekend.
“He is in great shape,” Hyland said.
“His runs have been really good I am just hoping that the month between runs might have got him back on track.
“His work has been really good and he has had time to have a little break and he had a quiet week after his last run.
“He only has to improve a length or a length and a half and he is in this race right up to his ears.
“I had thought about going to the 1400 on this program, but it just seemed to me that he was pretty well-weighted in this race with 54.
“It is a good race and he goes well down the Flemington straight, so it should suit him well.”
Shanghai Warrior has previously raced at Group 1 level, failing fire in both the 2012 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) and Futurity Stakes (1400m) and Hyland is eyeing a return to the highest level of racing for his star sprinter during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
Hyland said that Shanghai Warrior won over a mile earlier in his career and he believes that the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on October 11 may be the ideal race for the tough gelding.
“I would like to think that he would have a chance in a race like the Toorak,” Hyland said.
“He has won a mile and he has won 1500, he led all the way in those races, so we really want to have him for those sort of races in the spring.
“I think that he is capable of it.”
Tiger Tees ($3.40) is currently a clear favourite in the 2014 Aurie’s Star Handicap betting market at Ladbrokes Australia, but there has been plenty of support for Shanghai Warrior and he is now into a quote of $6.