Matt Laurie is happy for promising sprinter Alfa Oro to dictate the class of races they target next.
The Mornington speed merchant surpassed all expectations last year, coming back from a major leg injury as a juvenile and near two-year absence, to win six of eight starts.
His “worst” result to date, running fourth in the Group 2 Caulfield Sprint last October, was admirable given he “wasn’t quite at his best” on the day.
“That would be the ultimate aim (Group races),” Laurie said ahead of Saturday’s Open Handicap (1100m) at Caulfield.
“It really depends how he performs the next couple of runs … he’d have to be winning to earn his way into something like the Goodwood.”
Laurie will be watching from Sydney on Saturday as the Group 1-winning trainer prepares for the Australian Easter Yearling Sale, which starts on Tuesday at the Inglis Riverside complex.
Alfa Oro was the standout benchmark Melbourne winter sprinter last year.
He returned in the spring to brilliantly win an early heat of the 955m Challenge at The Valley, then pulled up lame when fourth as an odds-on favourite in the Caulfield Sprint.
“We’re not going to get too much cut out of the ground this weekend (but) it’s probably the best time of year for him (late autumn-winter), with a little bit more sting out of the track,” Laurie said.
“He’s had a good break, looks really refreshed and loves his work, the worst performance he’s had was last start there and he still wasn’t beaten far.”
Sartorial Splendor, a $9 TAB chance and last start Mornington winner, looks the likely leader again, with Laurie keen for Alfa Oro, the $2.80 favourite, to take a stalking position.
Alfa Oro boasts six wins, two seconds and an excusable fourth from nine career starts.
“He’s been pretty good on every track we put him on,” Laurie said.
“We’ll be positive away, looking for something to sit off, and hopefully we can be there poised to come over the top.
“I’m not saying Alfa is a deadset five furlong (1000m) horse but it’s a good kick-off for him.”
Stablemate Riddle Me That will contest the Group 3 Victoria Handicap (1400m).
The gelding motored late to run second behind Ancestry at The Valley first-up over 1200m.
“He really attacked the line … out to 1400m metres is perfect,” Laurie said.
“I thought he worked brilliantly on Tuesday, probably as good as I’ve seen him work.”
Originally published asResuming sprinter Alfa Oro poised to strike
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