Champion jockey Damien Oliver will be reunited with smart sprinter Lord Of The Sky in the Group 3 $150,000 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Oliver has ridden Lord Of The Sky on three previous occasions for two Group 1 placings and an unplaced effort when seventh to Miss Promiscuity in the 2015 Group 3 $150,000 PFD Food Services Sir John Monash Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield.
The Robbie Laing trained stallion has produced two of his best runs underneath Oliver with a nose second to the world’s highest rated sprinter Chautauqua in the 2015 Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick followed by a second to Flamberge in the 2015 Group 1 $500,000 Darley Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville.
Laing was forced to give Lord Of The Sky a long break after failing to beat a runner home when eleventh in the 2015 Bletchingly Stakes twelve months ago after the five year old suffered a leg injury.
“He broke down in the Bletchingly last year and at his start before he slipped at the start,” Laing told AAP.
“He might be like a footballer who’s about to do a hammy (hamstring). He might have felt a twinge in that race.”
Laing expects Lord Of The Sky to strip a much fitter race horse when he lines up in the Bletchingly Stakes on the weekend following his first up effort in the Sir John Monash Stakes on July 16.
Lord Of The Sky took up his customary spot in front and fought on well in the straight to be third across the line behind Wild Rian but was relegated to fourth after the connections of Atmospherical were successful in their protest bid after the mare was interfered with by the front runner at the 200m.
“It says he’s now run fourth but in actual fact he was beaten an inch for second,” Laing told racing.com.
“He showed a tonne of pace, he was brave and more importantly he pulled up terrific.
“He definitely went there a run short – he looks a lot tighter and I’m very happy with him.
“I’m looking forward to the Bletchingly.”
The Bletchingly Stakes is shaping up to be a tough encounter with several top class gallopers among the fourteen nominations, including Mahuta, Smokin’ Joey, The Cleaner, Fast ‘N’ Rocking and Runway Star.