Castelo heads back to Sandown chasing a second-straight city win and trainer Clinton McDonald is delighted to have in-form Regan Bayliss aboard again.
Bayliss guided Castelo to victory on the Sandown Hillside track last start in his first ride on the gelding and sticks with him in Wednesday’s Moorookyle Park Thoroughbreds Handicap (1400m) on the Lakeside course.
Wednesday’s meeting will be the first held on the Lakeside circuit since a meeting in September was abandoned after three races because of safety concerns with the surface around the home turn.
Following remedial work, the track was given the green light by senior jockeys and stewards after recent barrier trials.
McDonald said Castelo had trained on well for Wednesday’s assignment in benchmark-70 grade.
“He’s done everything right since the run and is going into the race in tip-top order,” McDonald said.
“I think he’ll be very hard to beat again.
“He had been a horse who hadn’t had a lot of luck in his runs. Nothing was working for him but the other day everything clicked. Regan rode him beautifully and we’ve got Regan back on again.
“Hopefully he can get the job done.”
Bayliss outrode his claim at Flemington last month with a winning treble at the December 17 meeting and has continued to be a regular in the winner’s circle in town since with 10 city victories including three at Listed level.
He officially became a senior rider last week and rode a stakes winner on Thursday at Caulfield aboard Grande Rosso before adding another winner at Flemington on Saturday to be equal fourth in the Melbourne premiership.
“He’s flying,” McDonald said.
“For a kid who has come out of his time and hit the ground running like he has, not too many do that. Obviously he has risen to the occasion and he’s going to go a long way.”
McDonald also has Koolama Bay running at Sandown and the trainer believes freshening him up to drop back in distance to 1500m in a benchmark 64 race will suit after his last-start sixth in the same grade over 1800m.