Co-trainers Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra are confident Lucky Eighty Eight is peaking for the Easter Cup at Caulfield after two unplaced runs this campaign.
Last year’s Kyneton Cup (2000m) winner was beaten five lengths first-up when Smokin’ Joey broke 1:22 for 1400 metres at Flemington on March 10 and didn’t handle the heavy ground last start when second last in the Pakenham Cup (1750m).
Zahra said the Pakenham run was best forgotten and that Lucky Eighty Eight would have no excuses on Saturday.
“He was terrible at Pakenham but it was a bog and a tight track and he had to run to get him right for this week,” Zahra said.
“He is going well at home and we can’t fault him. He definitely gets his chance to bounce back at Caulfield.”
Zahra said the stable harboured Caulfield Cup hopes for Lucky Eighty Eight last spring but he wasn’t good enough to mix it with the top-grade stayers.
“He is not a genuine stayer in those high-pressure races but back to this grade suits him,” Zahra said.
“We believe he is in with an each-way chance on Saturday.”
Andrew Mallyon will ride Lucky Eighty Eight who was $14 with TAB Sportsbet on Thursday while James Winks has the mount on stablemate Seduced ($12).
Formerly trained by Mick Kent, Seduced was third in the Group Three Schweppervescence Trophy (1600m) at Flemington on March 10 before joining her new stable and finishing last in the Group Two Sunline Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on March 23.
Zahra said the stable was not putting a lot of weight on the Sunline performance as she had taken time to adjust to her new surroundings.
“The race came up a bit too quickly for her last time,” Zahra said.
“She had only been with us two weeks and she took about a week to settle in and then she struck a leaders’ track at Moonee Valley.
“She got back to last and she stayed there but we are hoping for a better run on Saturday.
“She is going well on the track and looks good.”