Solo starts his trip to Group One glory
SOLO Flyer will kick off an ambitious autumn campaign when he takes on a star studded field in Saturday’s Expressway Stakes at Canterbury.
The Anthony Cummingstrained three-year-old was one of 15 entries for the Group Two race which will feature Group One winners Bentley Biscuit, Paratroopers, Racing To Win and Sniper’s Bullet.
The Expressway signals the return of weight-for-age racing to Sydney.
Since racing resumed on December 1 following the equine influenza outbreak, most features have been run under quality handicap conditions.
Solo Flyer, who ran second to Meurice in last year’s Champagne Stakes, will carry 54.5kg, three kilos less than the older horses.
He’s coming along very well and will run in the Expressway and then the Golden Rose, the Randwick Guineas and the Rosehill Guineas,’’ Cummings said.
He has the pedigree to run the one-and-a-half miles of the Derby but he will probably be out for a spell by then.
He’s ready to race now.’’ The AJC Australian Derby (2400m) will be run on April 26, five weeks later than originally scheduled after the program was revamped in the wake of the EI crisis.
Solo Flyer and the John O’Shea-trained Racing To Win were among several horses to work between races at Randwick on Saturday.
O’Shea also has JustMambo and Friday Creek entered but most attention will focus on Racing To Win who hasn’t started since his failure in the 2006 Cox Plate after which he was found to have a muscle problem.
He also missed the autumn but was back to full fitness in the spring before EI hit.
It is a relief to have him back,’’ O’Shea said.
He was ready to go in the spring but ended up not being able to race.’’
The last three-year-old to win the Expressway was Mentality a year ago and he is one of three nominations from the John Hawkes stable along with Malcolm and Danzippo.
However, Hawkes said Danzippo was his only definite starter with Mentality currently in Melbourne and also entered for Saturday’s Group One Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield.
Danzippo will run but Malcolm is only a maybe,’’ Hawkes said.
We will make a decision on whether Mentality stays in Melbourne for the Oakleigh Plate or comes back to Sydney last in the week.’’
Solo Flyer resumes in tomorrow’s Expressay Stakes