A revamped training program for Rohan has trainer Vaughn Sigley confident that his WATC Derby winner is ready to take on another tough weight for age field in the Group 2 $250,000 LD Total – C.B. Cox Stakes (2100m) at Ascot in Perth on Saturday.
At his first attempt at weight for age, Rohan ran a mighty race when third to Ihtsahymn and Luckygray in the Group 1 $500,000 TAB Touch – Kingston Town Classic (1800m) at Ascot on December 7 and Sigley says the five year old is jumping out of his skin since a change in routine.
Rohan is spending more time on the Lark Hill training track of late after Sigley decided to tone down the amount of work he did through the bush tracks.
“He’s bouncing around and giving curry to his trackwork riders,” Sigley told the West Australian.
“I had previously been mainly training Rohan through bush.
“But now I’m keeping him out of heavy sand and he’s going to the Lark Hill track. He’s benefiting from the switch to a firm training surface and I couldn’t be happier with him.”
Rohan won the Group 2 $400,000 Schweppes WATC Derby (2400m) at Ascot in the Autumn of 2012 and then went on to win the $80,000 WAROA Belmont Guineas (1600m) at Belmont during the Winter in the same year.
But a suspensory ligament injury forced Sigley to send Rohan to the paddock for over twelve months with the Blackfriars gelding returning to the racetrack with second to Playing God in the Group 3 $125,000 Northerly Stakes (1400m) at Ascot on October 19.
“Rohan had a hole in a suspensory ligament,” Sigley said.
“The horse’s owners spelled him until problems healed and there’s now no sign of trouble.”
“He just went down by the barest of margins, Playing God got him right on the line, and he boxed on really well that day and we were really happy with him,” Sigley said after the Northerly Stakes.
Regular rider Glenn Smith has been riding Rohan in his fast work at Lark Hill and will be back aboard the five year old in the Cox Stakes on Saturday.
“Rohan’s race jockey Glenn Smith is riding him in fast work,” Sigley said.
Rohan will again be taking on tough local Group 1 winners Ihtsahymn, Luckygray and Playing God whom he just beat home into third spot in the Kingston Town Stakes.
Three year old Ihtsahymn looks the horses to beat again and will get the run of the race from gate two while Smith will be looking to slot into a handy midfield position from gate nine.
The Adam Durrant trained Mr Moet (gate 3) and Luckygray (4) have both drawn well while Playing God will need some early luck from gate eight.
Luckygray’s fast finishing second in the Kingston Town Stakes has seen him posted as the $3.70 favourite for the Cox Stakes with Mr Moet at $4.20 and Ihtsahymn on the third line of betting at $4.50 with Rohan marked as s $9 chance and Playing God at $14.