Robbie Griffiths is expecting a flashing light return to racing from his smart sprinter Halvorsen when he resumes from a long spell at Flemington.
Griffiths said all the indications were that Halvorsen had returned as good if not better than when he last campaigned.
He finished seventh, beaten less than three lengths by Pippie, but he had excuses as he sprained a joint which led to a lengthy spell.
That run broke Halvorsen’s run of wins three consecutive wins which had all been down the Flemington straight which culminated in the 2020 Standish Handicap.
Griffiths believes he’ll show he’s on target for those Group One races when he starts on Saturday.
“He’ll be the underdog as against some in-form horses who love the straight such as Fabergino and Prezado, who have been racing recently, and are battle hardened which will give them the upper hand,” Griffiths said.
Dean Yendall will ride and Halvorsen is a $6.50 chance with TAB fixed odds.
“I’m thinking he’ll be the black-booker from the race and he’ll be the one everyone will be talking about as he’ll get back and finish on strongly,” Griffths said.
Halvorsen trialled at Cranbourne on Monday and settled closer to the lead than he normally does. He won the 800 metres jump-out narrowly but went to the line under a stranglehold from his jockey Nathan Rose.
“I’m really happy with how he has returned. He has comeback a bigger and stronger horse as a five-year-old,” he said.
Griffiths said Halvorsen had been in work for some time but rather than push him run over spring he decided to wait for summer
“He was also over-weight so it took a while to get his weight off him,” he said.
Also underlining his straight track specialist credentials was a second to Gytrash in the winter of 2019 over 1000 metres.