New Zealander Sensei had arrived in Melbourne to run in the Oakleigh Plate for trainer Michael Pitman who believes the sprinter should already be a Group One winner.
Pitman, who trains in partnership with his son Matthew, makes no secret he believes Sensei is superior to his stablemate Enzo’s Lad despite finishing third to him in the Group One Telegraph at Trentham last month.
Sensei arrived in Melbourne Wednesday morning.
“I have no doubt he should have won the Telegraph. Had he got the draw that Enzo’s Lad got, he would have won the race for sure,” Pitman told NZ Racing Desk.
“He’s the best sprinter I’ve ever had. Coup Align was an outstanding sprinter, but this horse is just that little bit better.
“He’s a very fast horse but we’ve had to treat him with kid gloves a bit because of his tendency to over-race.”
Pitman knows Sensei faces a challenge in Saturday’s Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield against proven elite performers like Shoals and Viddora and the emerging Nature Strip.
“We know it’s not going to be easy, but I’m really looking forward to running him in a race with good speed in it,” he said.
Sensei will carry 52kg with Dean Holland to ride.
The trainer is not perturbed by the month between runs.
“What we find is that if we space his races he actually races more relaxed which is the opposite of what you’d think,” Pitman said.
The trip to Melbourne is in part to test him with a view to returning later in the year and Sensei is at $41 in early markets..
“What I’m keen to do is get him over there, give him the run and come home and look at going back for some races during the Melbourne Cup carnival,” Pitman said.
She was subsequently transferred to Chris Waller and is scheduled to have her first start for her new stable in the Millie Fox Stakes at Rosehill on Saturday..
Since the spring, Pitman has been undergoing treatment for bowel cancer and checked himself out of hospital to travel to the Cox Plate.
He is continuing the treatment.
“The pain has gone from eight or nine (out of ten) six weeks’ ago to one or two,” he said.
“I’m taking 30-odd pills a day but I’m getting there.”