Trainer Tony Gollan has revealed that veteran sprinter Temple Of Boom will return to Group 1 level for the 2014 Manikato Stakes and Darley Classic after he runs in the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Temple Of Boom looked as though he was past his best when he failed to fire in three race starts during the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival, but returned to his best form during the 2014 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival and was only narrowly denied at Group 1 level in both the Doomben 10,000 (1350m) and Stradbroke Handicap (1400m).
Gollan admits that Temple Of Boom will face stiffer competition in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 24 and the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 8, but he remains confident that the Piccolo gelding is still capable of performing at the highest level of racing.
“That is where he was in the winter Carnival,” Gollan told Racing Ahead.
“I know that it is different to the spring to a degree, but we have seen Buffering come out and bring that form to Melbourne in a small field.
“I know that a lot of different form lines collide in the Manikato, but we ran fifth in the Group 1 with him two years ago and I feel that he is going better now.
“He is in great shape and that is where his future lies the rest of this prep.”
Temple Of Boom returned to racing with an impressive second place finish behind Chautauqua in the Group 3 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) at Flemington on September 13 and Gollan said that he was thrilled with the way that the eight-year-old had come through his first-up run ahead of the Gilgai Stakes this weekend.
“He has come through really well,” Gollan said.
“He hasn’t been good first-up for a long time now, he has always ran well, but he hasn’t won and he has a lot of improvement in him.
“That was the case this prep and he has found that improvement.
“His work yesterday at Flemington was first class from all reports and I am very happy with the horse heading into Saturday’s race.”
Rising hoop Tegan Harrison has developed a very successful partnership with Temple Of Boom since she steered the veteran gelding to victory in the Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m) at Doomben on April 27 and she had her first experience down the famous Flemington straight in the Bobbie Lewis Quality.
Temple Of Boom was left facing the breeze in the early stages of the Bobbie Lewis Quality and Gollan said that Harrison had learnt plenty from her first riding experience at Flemington.
“Tegan is the first to admit that she is better for the run down there the other day and it was a big eye-opener for her,” Gollan said.
“He is a lovely old horse for a young jockey like her to be travelling away with and he knows the Flemington straight quiet well.
“The other day when she rode him was probably the best that he has raced when being exposed up the Flemington straight all the way, so that gives you great heart no matter where you draw.
“Even if he is exposed, you can still expect a good performance.”