Injury cost Lord Of The Sky a start in the Stradbroke Handicap but trainer Robbie Laing says the classy sprinter is now fit and well ahead of his bid for back-to-back wins in the Sir John Monash Stakes.
A year ago, Lord Of The Sky beat Le Bonsir by 4-1/2 lengths to win the 1100m-Group Three winter feature at Caulfield as a three-year-old.
Although he has not won a race since, Lord Of The Sky has come close at the highest level with seconds in the TJ Smith Stakes in Sydney and the Goodwood in Adelaide.
Laing was forced to abandon plans to run Lord Of The Sky in the $2 million Stradbroke on June 6 when the horse pulled off a shoe and ripped the bulb of his heel during a break in the road trip from Melbourne to Brisbane.
Saturday’s race is part of a winter campaign aimed at the Group One Memsie Stakes (1400m) on August 29.
“He’s flying,” Laing said.
“He just had an easy week or two after that mishap going to Brisbane.
“He put on a bit of weight and freshened up really well.”
Laing was overseas for Lord Of The Sky’s gallop last Saturday but received glowing reports about his condition.
“We let him run up 600 metres,” Laing said.
“Arron Lynch generally rides him work but he was in Adelaide so I teed up Brian Higgins to ride him and he came in and said: `can’t this horse run’.
“I think everyone sort of knows that but he said `it’s the fastest horse I’ve ever ridden’.”
Lord Of The Sky is the highest-rated of the 16 nominations for the Monash (1100m) and Laing says his form shows he is going better than last year.
“You’d probably say he’s going better,” he said.
The trainer restricted Lord Of The Sky to salt water therapy to get him over the heel problem then stepped up his work.
“It’s only 1100 metres so I’ve just kept him ticking over,” he said.
“He’ll probably go to the Memsie and then have a good couple of months out and put all the eggs into the one basket for the autumn and the TJ Smith,” he said.
Damien Oliver has the ride on Saturday.
Laing said he would only consider starting stablemate Audino if the field fell away because he had no hope of beating Lord Of The Sky.