This weekend’s Run To The Rose is the biggest event on the Rosehill card not just in terms of status and prize money, but for what it means for the rest of the carnival.
It’s the lead up race to the Group 1 Golden Rose, the richest event of the Sydney spring and also the start of the three year old series.
It’s also the first chance we get to look at a host of returning horses who were champions as a two year old.
The obvious examples are the likes of dual Group 1 winner Helmet and the Sepoy slaying Smart Missile.
These may be the horses which are grabbing the most headlines in the lead up to the event but there’s one trainer who plans to spoil the party.
Scott Aspery is the trainer of Flight Of Pegasus, which enjoyed a solid two year old campaign with a win a third and a fourth form three runs.
He will also be first up this weekend and Aspery says he’s ready to take the jump in class and challenge the big boys.
“He’s come back really well, he’s developed into a much stronger individual,” he said.
Chris Munce has taken particular interest in the horse and made the journey down to Sydney to ride the horse in his most recent trial.
“Chris was happy with him, he ran second to Manawanui and beaten ten lengths so it didn’t look too good but that horse was really wound up and we were just there to stretch our legs,” he said.
That assessment is backed up by the fact Manawanui came out last weekend and dominated his rivals at Warwick Farm in what many consider the performance of the weekend.
That being said it still doesn’t tell Aspery how close his own horse is to Group 1 level and that’s part of the reason he’s entered in the Run To The Rose.
“We need to get a gauge on where we finish about Smart Missile and Helmet,” he said.
“If we don’t come up to scratch against those sort of horse we’ll need to asses out plans.”
Those plans currently are for a direct step into the Golden Rose but Flight Of Pegasus is nominated for everything from the Spring Champion Stakes and the Epsom Handicap through to the Caulfield Guineas and even the Cox Plate.
All of those are a long way off at the moment though and first things first are simply putting in a credible run in good company on Saturday.
“I think they’ll be a bit sharp for him over the 1200m but as long as he’s hitting the line strong ill be happy,” he said.