Richie’s Vibe scored an upset victory in the 2014 edition of the Australia Stakes and trainer Paul Beshara is hopeful that the gelding can replicate that effort in the Group 2 event at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Richie’s Vibe was sent to the spelling paddock for a brief break after he finished seventh behind Disposition in the Group 3 Guvera Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on October 31 and he returned to the races with a credible second behind Justify That in the Listed Christmas Handicap (1200m) at Morphettville on Boxing Day.
The Danerich gelding has not recorded a race win since he upstaged Moment Of Change and It Is Written to take out the Australia Stakes almost two years ago, but Beshara told Racing Ahead that he is bullish about the chances of the six-year-old this weekend.
“We will accept,” Beshara said.
“He will be right in that, he is very, very well.
“He ran a good first-up race in the Christmas Handicap, he ran second, but 50 out I thought he would have won.
“He had a head wind in there and with the 59 kilos it just took a little bit of a toll on him, but he is a lot fitter now.
“He will be very competitive.”
Richie’s Vibe has only had the one start at Group 1 level, when he finished a disappointing 15th in the 2014 edition of the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield, but Beshara has Group 1 ambitions for the sprinter this preparation.
Beshara is not sure exactly where Richie’s Vibe will head after he runs in the Australia Stakes this weekend, but he is hopeful that the gelding will make it to the Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville in May.
“We will just see what we do with him after this weekend,” Beshara said.
“The long-range plan for him is to target The Goodwood in May here because he could be that type of horse.”
Beshara’s star galloper Happy Trails is still three weeks away from a return to the races, but Beshara confirmed that his star sprinter was in outstanding condition and remains on track to return to the races in the Group 1 Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 13 before he presses on to the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at the same venue on February 27 and the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 12.