A belated change to the race program has resulted in promising sprinter Sir Elton facing an immediate test of his capabilities when he resumes at Randwick.
Trainer Adam Duggan admitted he had to get his head around the alterations after the four-year-olds and upwards event was combined with a three-year-old race when acceptances were declared for Saturday’s program.
Sir Elton will now clash with stakes-winning three-year-old True Detective and promising Listed placegetter Pandemic, a stoush Duggan was initially hesitant about.
“I had to have a bit of a rethink about the race because they weren’t in the race until acceptances came out,” Duggan said.
“I was trying to dodge the three-year-olds if I’m being honest.
“Now I’m looking at it the other way. It’s going to be a good test for him and we’ll get a good idea where he’s at.”
Sir Elton made a big impression with dominant wins at his first three starts before having his colours lowered when third behind subsequent Group Two winner Haut Brion Her at Randwick in July.
In hindsight, Duggan said the horse was probably feeling the effects of a tough initial campaign which included a city win on a rain-affected track.
The gelding was spelled but far from rushing the best horse in his stable back into work, Duggan convinced his owners that giving the horse sufficient time and rest was as crucial as any training program.
“I said, ‘look, this could be the most important spell of his career’. If we do the wrong thing here and don’t give him the necessary time, he might not make that next lot of improvement and make the next step,” Duggan said.
All up, Sir Elton spent 10 weeks in the paddock and Duggan can already see the benefits.
The horse has strengthened and furnished and is mentally fresh.
He has looked sharp in two recent barrier trial wins and will be ridden for the first time in a race by Duggan’s good friend Josh Parr, who lives on the NSW Central Coast and has galloped and trialled the Gosford-trained horse.
Also giving Duggan a confidence boost is the form around Sir Elton, not only through Haut Brion Her but in-form mare Lashes, who Sir Elton defeated at his second start.
“Coming through winter, you hear the commentary all the time about whether winter form is going to stack up or not,” Duggan said.
“The way it’s looking at the moment, it is definitely stacking up and hopefully that continues.”