The Everest winner Redzel is set to kick off his 2018 Autumn Carnival campaign in the Group 1 $750,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington on February 17.
Redzel will be given two barrier trials in preparation for his return to Flemington after claiming the Group 1 $1m Darley Classic (1200m) down the straight course on the last day of the 2017 Melbourne Cup Carnival in November.
Co-trainer Peter Snowden said that Redzel in ready to step out for his first trial, possibly at Rosehill next week, before heading to Melbourne for a trial at Flemington.
“He’ll have one trial, maybe next Monday at Rosehill, and then another one at Flemington,” Snowden told racing.com.
“It should set him up for the 17th for the Lightning.
“1000m down the straight suits him perfect. He loves Flemington. He’s just a brilliant horse, it’ll take a handy one to beat him.”
Redzel has shown his liking for the Flemington straight with his only other appearance there also resulting in a win in the Listed $150,000 Mumm Stakes (1000m) during the 2016 Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Snowden, who trains in partnership with his Paul, has virtually ruled out a start for Redzel in the Group 1 $1.25m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 10 and will probably be kept for the weight for age Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick during The Championships in April.
“Nothing’s locked in. The Newmarket’s probably not ideal being a handicap, he’ll just get too much weight,” Snowden said.
“You’re looking at 60, 61kg, which makes it pretty hard.
“We’ll have a think of where we go next start.
“Maybe we’ll wait and run in the TJ, I may give him that much time off, we’ll see.”
Redzel is the winner of his last six starts and has stamped himself as the best sprinter in the country after wins in the Group 1 $700,000 James Boag’s Premium Doomben 10000 (1200m) at Doomben during the 2017 Brisbane Winter Carnival and in the inaugural running of the $10m The Everest (1200m) at Randwick at the end of the 2017 Sydney Spring Carnival.
Early markets for the 2018 T J Smith Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au have Redzel as the $6 favourite ahead of the flying grey Chautauqua at $9, Vega Magic at $11 and Brave Smash and Menari at $13.
Early betting for the 2018 T J Smith Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $6 Redzel, $9 Chautauqua, $11 Vega Magic, $13 Brave Smash, Menari, $15 Merchant Navy, $17 In Her Time, Nature Strip, She Will Reign, $21 English, $26 Clearly Innocent, Impending, Invincible Star, Trapeze Artist, Viddora, $34 or better the rest.