Underrated colt Va Pensiero will make his Melbourne racing debut when he contests the Blue Sapphire Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Va Pensiero was a giant-killer in the early stages of the 2013 Sydney Spring Racing Carnival; scoring upsets wins in the Group 3 San Domenico Stakes (1100m) and Group 3 The Run To The Rose (1200m) before finishing fourth in the Listed Heritage Stakes (1100m) and fifth in the Group 2 Roman Consul Stakes.
The Stratum colt will face a number of leading Victorian-based three-year-olds in the second ever running of the Blue Sapphire Stakes and trainer Jason Coyle admits that he is not sure how his star galloper will stack up.
“To be honest I don’t know whether the Sydney three-year-olds are better than the Melbourne ones,” Coyle told TVN.
“It’s an intriguing race because these horses are all coming off different form-lines.
“The only thing we do know about the three-year-olds is Zoustar is clearly the best.
“Apart from that the rest is probably yet to be determined.”
Va Pensiero hit the lead with 200 meters left to run in the Roman Consul Stakes at Royal Randwick last Saturday but was swamped by Zoustar and faded in the final stages of the race to finish fifth.
Coyle was satisfied with the performance and is confident that the three-year-old took plenty of benefit out of the run.
“Zoustar went past us all like we were going nowhere,” Coyle said.
“My horse has come through that well and he’s going to Melbourne in very good order and should run well.”
The Blue Sapphire Stakes may not be a considered a black type race but the $250,000 of prizemoney on offer means that the event has drawn a very strong field; with Tony McEvoy-trained Iconic ($4.60) and classy filly Villa Verde ($4.8) the best backed runners in the race.
Blue Diamond Stakes winner Miracles Of Life ($5.50) is searching for her first victory this campaign, while leading Darley colt Safeguard ($5.50) is looking to bounce back to winning form after he suffered his first ever defeat in the Group 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) at Flemington a month ago.