Trainer Todd Willan has been pleased with the condition of Artlee out of Saturday’s Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m), and has revealed the horse will back-up in this weekend’s Group 3 BRC Sprint (1350m) at Doomben Racecourse.
Jumping from the gates well in the BTC Cup, jockey Michael Cahill allowed Artlee to stride forward and take a position just off the pace of the race’s early leaders; unlucky to be blocked for a run early in the straight but producing a good late turn of foot to run on for a credible seventh.
Willan told The Courier Mail that Artlee has come out of the race very well, and will try and secure the ballot-free entry into the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) that is offered to the winner of the BRC Sprint.
“He walked out sound and ate everything (Saturday night) so he seems to have come through the run unscathed,” Willan said.
“I’ve never backed him up before but I’ve never been worried about it. He’s always fresh in himself and it might just take the edge off him because he’s such a headstrong horse.”
Cahill was thrown from the saddle after crossing the line in the BTC Cup, and believes Artlee will be far-more effective on the Eagle Farm surface come the 2016 Stradbroke Handicap.
“He just couldn’t go early and in hindsight he would have probably been better drawing 10 than inside,” Cahill said.
“He will improve significantly when he gets on to the bigger track.”
Artlee has been the stable star for Willan since debuted to racing in 2014; posting an impressive six race wins and a further three minors through fourteen competitive starts.
Undoubtedly finding career-best form to date through the 2015 edition of the Autumn Carnival, Artlee won the Country Championships Wildcard (1280m) before producing an outstanding performance to win the Country Championships Final (1400m) at Randwick on Day 2 of The Championships.
Capping that preparation with a maiden black type win in the Listed Luskin Star Stakes (1300m) at Scone, Artlee resumed this time for ninth in the Group 3 Hall Mark Stakes (1200m); progressing to third in the Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m) in his only other start prior to the BTC Cup.
The 2016 BRC Sprint final field and barrier draw is due to be completed and released by midday, Wednesday.
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