A restricted-class race which has produced a subsequent stakeswinner holds the key to veteran galloper Theophorus maintaining a form revival, trainer Leanne Aspros says.
Theophorus will be trying to make it two wins from five starts under Aspros’ care when he steps out in the New Law Handicap (1550m) at Canterbury on Wednesday.
But it is a last-start defeat which has Aspros confident the seven-year-old will be in the finish.
Theophorus was beaten less than a length into fourth place by King Lionheart, the Gai Waterhouse galloper who earned an Epsom start with his Group Two Shannon Stakes win on Saturday.
“He’s dropping back from Saturday class and out of that race the first and second (Renewed Vitality) horses have since won and the horse (Al’s Gold) which ran fifth won at Canterbury on Friday night,” Aspros said.
“With that sort of form reference he looks well placed in a midweek race.”
Theophorus emerged from almost three years in the racing wilderness with a Warwick Farm win on a heavy track last month.
The victory enhanced Theophorus’ reputation as a wet-track specialist but Aspros said he preferred slow going to an absolute bog.
“Every jockey who has ridden him when it’s been very wet has said he got through it without handling it properly,” Aspros said.
“But he’s very good on a slow surface and the sting out of the ground on Wednesday will really suit him.”
Aspros said she nursed Theophorus between races to combat his advancing years.
“Being a seven-year-old he’s had a few issues but I keep his work at the track short and sharp,” she said.
“Other days he’ll be led off a pony … he might only have a saddle on him twice a week.
“At the moment he’s a happy horse and going into Wednesday’s race he’s probably the best I’ve had him.”
Theophorus has drawn perfectly in gate three with Sam Clipperton’s three-kilogram claim bringing the gelding into the race with 56.5kg.
His Canterbury opposition is expected to include well-performed Victorian galloper Pitt Street.
The winner of four races, Pitt Street will be having his second start from a let-up for trainer David Hayes.
Pitt Street is also entered for a Moonee Valley race on Friday night as well as at Morphettville on Sunday.