Golden Slipper hopeful Weatherly is definitely on the improve heading into Saturday’s Group 2 $300,000 UNSW Todman Stakes (1200m) at Randwick according to trainer Paul Messara.
Weatherly was sent to Sydney after scoring an impressive win down the Flemington straight in the Listed $120,000 Talindert Stakes (1100m) on February 20 and Messara has reported that he has settled into his new Rosehill stable with ease.
“Really good. We travelled up to Sydney the night before last and he has settled in really well,” Messara told Racing Ahead.
“I do think there is improvement to come out of that race. And just in terms of his professionalism as well and the experience that they get, these young horses, they can take major leaps from each race.”
“Not that he probably needs to make a major one, a repeat will probably be okay.”
“He is holding together really nice, can’t fault him going into Saturday.”
“We are at Rosehill leading into the races here. He has settled in well, eating well and doing all those things that you like young horses to do when they change locations.”
Weatherly was well supported at his first race start when sent out as the equal $4.40 favourite but lost all chance when he bungled the start before finishing sixth to Cohesion in the Listed $150,000 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Preview (C&G) (1000m) at Caulfield on January 26.
The Beneteau colt was then due to run in the Group 3 $200,000 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Prelude (C&G) (1100m) at Caulfield on February 13, but was a race day withdrawal after suffering from a mild virus.
Messara then nursed Weatherly back to full health and took him to Flemington where he produced his best to record a one and half lengths win.
Even though Weatherly stumbled at the start on debut and was also slow to leave the gates at Flemington, Messara is not convinced that he has a barrier problem.
“If he jumps cleanly it is going to be big help,” Messara said.
“We have done all the education that we can with him, he is perfect at home.
“He stumbled in his first race, he was in there for a long time in barrier one and stumbled coming out and he was a little slow away when a horse played up on his outside at his last start.
“He has kind of had a couple of excuses so I and happy to give the horse the benefit of the doubt. He has been perfect at home so hopefully he jumps cleanly on Saturday.”
Top Melbourne jockey Craig Williams has been aboard Weatherly for his two race starts and made the decision to follow him to Sydney too give him a final test heading towards the Group 1 $3.5m Longines Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on March 19.
Williams will miss the Group 1 Australian Guineas Day at Flemington on Saturday to ride at Rosehill, a move that surprised Messara, but he said he was happy to leave the major tactics up to the big race jockey.
“I was surprised to be honest,” Messara said.
“He obviously thinks a lot of the horse and with the Golden Slipper only three weeks away, he didn’t want to miss that opportunity should the horse come out this weekend and do the business.”
“Tactically I will have to leave it up to the jockey. It might be one of those muddling races, they might go slow.”
“I would prefer to pick a running lane early and running our own race rather than getting stuck back in on the rail, boxed up and not being able to get out until the race is kind of over.”
“I just want to be able to get out and get going when we want to go, that will be the only instruction I will tell Craig, the rest I will leave up to him.”
Weatherly has drawn barrier three in the six horse Todman Stakes field and is on the third line of betting at $5.50 with Ladbrokes.com.au.
Magic Millions 2yo Classic winner Capitalist heads the market order at $1.80 ahead of the John O’Shea’s unbeaten colt Astern at $4.40.
Capitalist’s stablemate Defcon is next in the betting at $9 ahead of Tessera at $10 with the Gai Waterhouse trained Kiss And Make Up the outsider of the field at $31.