A pleasing jump-out against some established Group One performers has readied three-year-old King Of Hastings to return in a sprint race at Flemington.
The Anthony Freedman-trained King Of Hastings will resume over the straight 1000m against older horses in Saturday’s Furphy Dash, his first start since finishing fifth in the $2 million Magic Millions Guineas (1400m) at the Gold Coast in January.
His preparation has included an 800m jump-out last Friday at Flemington in which he finished second, a few lengths behind Stradbroke Handicap winner Trekking who runs in Saturday’s Group One Goodwood in Adelaide.
“We gave him a jump-out last week and it was a really good hit-out behind Trekking,” assistant trainer Sam Freedman said.
“He pulled up really well in the wind so it seems his fitness levels are good enough just off that one trial.
“He’s a winner down the straight already (over 1200m) so this seemed like a nice race for him.
“He will probably improve when he gets out to 1200 metres but it’s a nice kick-off point.
“We probably felt he was just below those good three-year-olds.
“He has run well against a lot of them, like Alligator Blood and Super Seth, but he’s just not up to them so we thought if we got him in for this winter campaign there’s probably some really nice races for him through this period.”
King Of Hastings, winner of three of his eight starts has only raced once over 1000m when winning a maiden at Cranbourne on debut in May last year.
“There’s no reason why he doesn’t have the sharpness in his legs to sprint well fresh but ultimately his best distance is going to be 1200 metres and possibly 1400,” Freedman said.
King Of Hastings was the $3.90 favourite on Friday ahead of Prezado ($5) who defeated Goodwood contender The Inevitable over the course and distance at Flemington last start.