David Hayes is leaning towards Cannyescent and Grande Rosso as the leading chances of his four-pronged attack on the Group Three Aurie’s Star Handicap.
Grande Rosso is being aimed towards a Group One 1400m-handicap later in the spring and resumes in Saturday’s 1200m straight-track sprint at Flemington for his first start since March.
He won the Listed Chester Manifold Stakes and Listed John Dillon Stakes over 1400m last preparation while five-year-old Cannyescent has been freshened since stringing three-straight city wins together during May and June.
Hayes, who trains in partnership with his son Ben and nephew Tom Dabernig, also has Group One Australian Guineas placegetter Snitzson resuming for his first start as a four-year-old while Ruettiger needs to bounce back from a last-start failure in a benchmark-90 down the straight last month.
“I think Cannyescent is the fit and in-form horse while Grande Rosso trialled brilliantly and looks like he’s in for a good preparation,” Hayes said.
“Ruetigger disappointed last start but we’ve had a gear change and he’s got winter fitness.”
A cross-over nose band goes back on Ruettiger along with pacifiers instead of winkers.
“Snitzson probably might find it a bit sharp but I think he’s a very good horse coming back from the Guineas,” Hayes said.
“Sometimes they win, but I really reckon he’ll be better at 1400 metres and a mile.”
“I think Cannyescent and Grande Rosso have probably got the edge.”
Hayes turned his attention to early season races with Cannyescent after the gelding won his most recent start at Flemington on June 24.
“He had a really good winter preparation and we backed off then and thought he deserved a chance to go for the early spring races,” Hayes said.
Hayes said if Cannyescent could hold his form he could get to the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m).
Grande Rosso is also being targeted at that Group One handicap and Hayes believes a recent jump-out points to him sprinting well fresh.
Hayes said the Toorak Handicap would be a goal for Snitzson.