Trainer Lloyd Kennewell is happy with Starkiato heading into the 2014 Lord Mayor’s Cup at Doomben on Saturday, but admits that five-year-old is not suited by the weight-for-age conditions of the Group 3 event.
Starkiato started his winter preparation with two fair performances in Adelaide, but returned to his best form with a fighting second behind Rhythm To Spare in the Group 3 R A Lee Stakes (1600m) at Morphettville on May 10.
Kennewell told Racing Ahead that Starkiato had trained on strongly since his R A Lee Stakes run and had thrived since arriving in Brisbane, but is not particularly confident about the chances of the Starcraft gelding in the Lord Mayor’s Cup this weekend.
“He was a terrific run the other day at Morphettville in the R.A. Lee Stakes; he ran a cracking race to run second,” Kennewell said.
“It has always been the plan to get him up to Brisbane and hope for a wet winter, but obviously it is not wet there yet.
“We are hoping that he can run a good race in a weight-for-age race that he is not well in the weights in, but his next couple of runs are handicap races and are good quality races and he is probably better suited in the coming weeks.
“He has actually traveled up really well and his work around Doomben on Tuesday was really strong.
“If it was a handicap Saturday I would be pretty confident, but at weight-for-age it pulls him up a little bit I reckon.”
Starkiato was settled towards the middle of the field in the R A Lee Stakes, but has generally been ridden as a backmarker during his racing career and Kennewell expects jockey Joe Bowditch to settle the five-year-old towards the tail of the field.
“He will go back and will be ridden for luck early,” Kennewell said.
“He is a horse that likes to get to the outside once he straightens up and I would be expecting him to do that and hit the line strongly.”
Starkiato is set to face a strong field in the Lord Mayor’s Cup on Saturday and will face a number of in-form gallopers that are starting their 2014 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival campaigns.
Darley mare Cameo took out the Listed Scone Cup (1600m) last Friday and stablemate Wistful produced a strong performance in the Group 3 Hawkesbury Cup (1600m), while Gerald Ryan-trained Angel Of Mercy is dropping back in class after finishing eighth in the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) last weekend.