Buoyed by the surprise spring return of top-line sprinter Terravista, trainer Joe Pride heads to Canterbury confident Sugar Bay Leonard can add to the stable’s recent success.
As Pride prepares for a three-pronged attack on Cup week at Flemington, Sugar Bay Leonard is set to line up in an 1100m benchmark handicap at Sydney’s inner-west track on Wednesday.
“We expect him to start fulfilling that potential he’s always shown us,” Pride told AAP.
“He trialled quite well so if he runs up to his work he’ll be winning pretty easy.”
After being given a short let-up, Sugar Bay Leonard, who is part-owned by Sky Racing commentator and form analyst Ron Dufficy, flew home late to finish second in a barrier trial at Warwick Farm on October 18.
The short break came after the four-year-old gelding put in two below-par performances in August.
Despite his sole win from five attempts coming in soft going, Pride said getting Sugar Bay Leonard back on firmer ground was key to his chances.
The Canterbury track was rated good on Tuesday, with no rain forecast in Sydney until later in the week.
“We decided to put him aside because it felt like we were banging our head against the wall on the wet tracks,” Pride said.
Sugar Bay Leonard is $3.50 second favourite to win the final race of Wednesday’s meeting, behind the Michael Freedman-trained three-year-old Cannot Be Serios who is the $2.80 top pick to beat his older rivals.
Cannot Be Serios will be looking to make it two from two after winning on debut at Hawkesbury on October 9.
Pride has scored a pair of metropolitan winning doubles during October, at midweek and public holiday meetings at Warwick Farm.
One of those winners was Kentucky Miss, who returned to midweek grade and won on the back of a Listed victory at Flemington earlier in the month.
She will head back to Melbourne for the Listed Red Roses Stakes on Thursday week, the same day Terravista is down to run in the Listed Mumm Stakes.
Terravista’s half-brother Ball Of Muscle is set to race in Saturday’s Group Two Linlithgow Stakes.