Travolta will be returning to the races in the 2014 Centenary Classic Mercedes Benz Open Mile at Eagle Farm tomorrow and Gai Waterhouse stable foreman Mark Newnham is confident that the tough gelding will perform well in the Listed event.
Travolta has not been seen at the races since he finished fourth in the Group 1 Auckland Cup (3200m) at Ellerslie on May 5, but has performed fairly in two barrier trials; winning a trial over 1200 metres at Royal Randwick on May 23 before finishing fourth at Rosehill Gardens on June 10.
The Handsome Ransom gelding has a fair first-up record and Newnham told Sky Racing HQ that he believes the Centenary Classic Mercedes Benz Open Mile is the right sort of race for the five-year-old.
“He trailed the other day at Rosehill before going up there and it was a bit short and sharp for him the trial, but he finished off ok,” Newnham said.
“It is the right sort of race to kick him off in, he is a good weight carrier and he has performed well first-up in the past.
“He won first-up at Rosehill one day over 1400 metres, so a mile first-up wouldn’t see any trouble to him.”
The Waterhouse stable will have two runners in the Centenary Classic Mercedes Benz Open Mile; with promising mare Queenstown set to have the second start of her winter campaign in the Listed event.
Queenstown was placed at Group level in both the Matriarch Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on November 9 and the Group 2 Zipping Classic (2400m) at Caulfield on November 16 and returned from a stint in the spelling paddock with a third place finish in the Octagonal Handicap (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on May 31.
Newnham said that he expects Queenstown to receive a lovely run into the Centenary Classic Mercedes Benz Open Mile and is confident that the daughter of Stratum will produce an improved performance on Saturday.
“She is a really good improving mare,” Newnham said.
“She went through to Group company last preparation and she has drawn well where she won’t have to be used to take up a good spot.
“The other day first-up, she just had to be used and pushed out of her comfort zone a little bit to not be caught wide and she battled home strongly.
“The step-up in distance suits her as well.”
Travolta is currently available at odds of $10 to return to Australian racing with a win, while Queenstown is a narrow favourite from Transporter at a quote of $2.90.