Trainer Tony Gollan is confident that Listen Son is at peak fitness, despite the veteran gelding not being seen at the races since November 2, but is still unsure whether the consistent galloper will contest the Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1550m) in Sydney or the Listed Brisbane Handicap (1600m) at Doomben on Saturday.
Update: Listen Son has accepted for the Villiers Stakes and will not run in the Brisbane Handicap.
Listen Son has been in work since the 2013 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival, where he finished fourth in the Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m) and third in the Group 3 BRC Sprint (1350m), but has remained in consistent form.
The Big Jesse gelding won the Southside Shop Handicap (1200m) at Eagle Farm on August 24 and finished an unlucky third behind Mishani Warrior and Tokamak in the Thoroughbred Breeders Handicap (1300m) at Eagle Farm a fortnight later.
He produced an uncharacteristically poor run in the Goa Billboards Handicap (1200m) at Eagle Farm on September 28 but returned to his best form with a win in the Channel Seven Handicap (1600m) before finishing second in the Padua College Handicap (1300m) at Eagle Farm on November 2.
Listen Son has missed two subsequent starts due to wet weather in Brisbane but Gollan said that he has done his best to keep the seven-year-old fit before his return to the races in whichever race he ends up contesting this weekend.
“I’ve had to scratch him a few times because of wet tracks but he’s been having jump-outs every two weeks,” Gollan told AAP.
“He’s been in work quite a while and he’s no stranger to having his runs spaced.
“I think the horse is going super, he’s been in good form and it’s worth having a crack.”
Gollan is yet to confirm whether Listen Son will run in the Villiers Stakes or Brisbane Handicap, with the trainer desperate to avoid a wet track, but is leading to giving the tough galloper another chance to record his maiden victory at Group level in the Villiers Stakes.
“They are forecasting storms up here unfortunately and maybe showers in the Sydney, but the track down there is such a good drying track so that’s maybe the way we will lead,” Gollan said.
“He looks the pace in the race and that sort of track will probably suit him.”
Listen Son has done his racing almost exclusively in Queensland and finished at the tail of the field in his only previous start, the 2011 Group 3 Tab.Com.Au Stakes (1400m) at Flemington, outside of his home state.