A trip to the Gold Coast for two Lindsay Park three-year-olds hinges on their performances at Ballarat.
“Both horses have definitely got the ability if right and we’re hopeful they’re competitive with a view to the Gold Coast,” co-trainer Tom Dabernig said.
“It’s hard to go into this race confident on their current form but the horses are well in themselves.
“I’m hoping they can bounce back.”
Dam Ready has been a consistent performer but has won only one of his eight starts.
“We stretched him out to 1400 metres at his last run but he didn’t quite run it out so we’ve brought him back in trip and put the blinkers on,” Dabernig said.
Highland Beat looked to be in for a good spring after second placings behind Russian Revolution and Defcon in consecutive races at Caulfield in August.
But the three-year-old lost confidence on soft tracks and hasn’t been seen since finishing sixth at Moonee Valley on October 21.
“The track was a little greasy and soft for him and a lot of horses didn’t run true to their form that night,” Dabernig said.
“He sustained a long prep and held his form last time in but he’s just had a couple of races where he’s ended up in awkward spots and the ground wasn’t in his favour.”
Valliano won’t be joining the Lindsay Park Gold Coast team but is in a similar position to his stablemates.
He runs in the VOBIS Gold Eureka Concrete (1400m) with Dabernig hoping for a return to form.
The winner of the VOBIS Gold Ingot in April, Valliano has failed to fill a place in five races during the spring.
But Dabernig is prepared to forgive Valliano his unplaced run last start at Flemington and expects improvement from the inside barrier.
“He drew wide at Flemington and had no luck,” Dabernig said.
“His run before that he wasn’t beaten far. He’s drawn a gate that gives him his chance at the 1400 metres.”