Consistent sprinter Hard Stride makes a return to racing at Flemington with a weight that is causing some concern for rider Damien Lane.
Not that Lane will have any trouble riding Hard Stride at his given weight – it’s more the extra five kilograms Hard Stride will carry in the Kensington Stakes (1000m) on Saturday compared to his last start 54kg.
The Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra trained galloper hasn’t raced since running third in a Group Three contest at Caulfield on August 30 which followed a victory over the smart sprinter Moment Of Change in the Listed Regal Roller Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield a fortnight earlier.
“My biggest concern is how well he comes back into this grade with this sort of weight,” Lane said.
“After beating Moment Of Change he got hammered in the ratings and he’s at that stage now where he’s up in the weights.
“That’s a concern.”
While Lane has reservations with the weight he believes the gelding goes into the Kensington Stakes in fantastic order.
The winner of three races from 19 starts with a further 10 minor placings, Hard Stride’s three previous first-up runs have produced a win, a second and a third.
Lane said the gelding should be fit enough after two recent jump-outs at Flemington but said barrier five was another slight worry with the rail out three metres.
“I rode him in his first trial and then I was away in Perth for his second one, but he looked like he trialled well,” Lane said.
“His work has been good and he comes into the race with a chance but those inside draws can be a bit tricky in those straight races.”
Hard Stride is the third favourite in early betting on the Kensington Stakes behind last-start impressive 1000m Flemington winner The Quarterback and the Peter Moody-trained Thermal Current.