Trainer Jason Coyle is hopeful that Va Pensiero can make his own luck when he returns to racing in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Va Pensiero has not been seen at the races since he finished at the tail of the field in the Group 3 Red Anchor Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate Day last year, but has performed well in two barrier trials as well as a jump out alongside fellow Newmarket Handicap runners Shamexpress and Bernabeu at Flemington yesterday.
Coyle told Racing Ahead that he was very happy with the way that Va Pensiero performed in the jump out and said that he is delighted with his condition heading into the feature Group 1 sprint this weekend.
“All three horse were out there just to go on the bridle and have a look at the straight, so there was no pressure put on any of the horses,” Coyle said.
“Kathy (O’Hara) had him in an outside barrier and took him up the outside so he just had a bunny to follow and something inside him.
“He didn’t turn a hair and he worked through the line on the bridle nicely.
“That sort of tops him off now for Saturday.
“He pulled up perfectly from the jump out so hopefully he is right where he needs to be.”
Va Pensiero has generally produced his best form fresh and started his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with two impressive wins in the Group 3 San Domenico Stakes (1100m) and Group 3 The Run To The Rose (1200m).
The Stratum colt was ridden up on the speed in both of those victories and Coyle said that he sees no reason why his star galloper won’t be close to the lead in the 2014 Newmarket Handicap this weekend.
“One of his biggest assets is that he comes out of the gates humming and with fifty kilos I can’t see why I would be taking that away from him,” Coyle said.
“Obviously I will leave a lot in the hands of Kathy and she got a feel for him on Tuesday.
“You just have to play a race from happens in the first furlong and at this stage he will be rolling forward and hopefully making his own luck.”
Va Pensiero is set to return to Sydney after running in the Newmarket Handicap and has been included in the nominations for the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on April 12.
Coyle added that a trip to Brisbane for the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) and the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) is on the agenda for Va Pensiero and the rising trainer believes that the maturing three-year-old will be in peak condition heading into those races.
“I always said that this would be his time; he took a little while to develop and he always looked a smaller horse in the field,” Coyle said.
“Come the winter, when he has had another couple of runs under his belt, hopefully he is even stronger.”