A strong solo gallop by international visitor Kaspersky on the grass at Werribee has trainer Jane Chapple-Hyam looking forward to his Australian debut in the Toorak Handicap.
The horse was given a solid hit-out on Sunday morning at the Werribee quarantine centre, working over 1400m under track rider Joe Berkely who replaced an ailing Michelle Payne.
Kaspersky, who finished second in a Group Three 1609m race at Haydock last month, runs in Saturday’s Group One Toorak (1600m) at Caulfield.
Payne rode him when he finished fifth in the Group One Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot in June and Chapple-Hyam said she hoped Payne would be well enough to work Kaspersky later this week.
“I haven’t spoken to her since the horse galloped but we had planned to have her come back out on Wednesday, so hopefully she’ll be fit and ready for that,” Chapple-Hyam said.
“It’s nice to be back with what I think is a good horse,” Chapple-Hyam said.
“And hopefully he’ll run well and we’ll be able to find another race after the Toorak on Saturday.
“He lost two kilos on the flight which is exceptional. He’s put four back on and after today’s gallop he’s probably two kilos off his race weight.”
Chapple-Hyam believes Kaspersky will run well on Saturday but is concerned he will be giving weight to some of his rivals.
“I’m sure we’ve got to carry a bit of weight in that and there will be some light weights that will be hard (to beat),” she said.
“So we’ll just see how he handles Caulfield which is a tight-turning track for him after being on some galloping tracks like Haydock and Nottingham and Ascot.”
The trainer has not ruled out running Kaspersky in the Cox Plate if he performs well in the Toorak but is under no illusions he can beat Winx.
“Due to them paying down to eighth spot, someone has got to take those places,” she said.
“So if we were accepted then we’d give it a go.”