Darren Weir leads the national trainers’ premiership with a huge team of horses in his care but outwardly he is never over-confident in the lead-up to a race.
In the Listed Kensington Stakes at Flemington on Saturday Weir saddles Flamberge, Hellbent and stable newcomer El Divino with the trainer downplaying their chances..
Hellbent is listed the $1.70 favourite with El Divino second pick at $6.50 and Flamberge the $17 outsider.
“They’re all in good shape but they’re not wound up,” Weir said.
“It looks a nice race to kick them off in.”
Weir has bigger sprint plans in store for Hellbent and El Divino with next month’s Oakleigh Plate an early target.
Hellbent has the potential to be an exceptional sprinter.
“He’s got an amazing turn of foot but what I want to see on Saturday is him hitting the line,” Weir said.
El Divino, the younger half-brother to champion mare Winx, is having his first start for Weir after starting his career with Tulloch Lodge in Sydney.
The three-year-old won his first two starts last autumn for Gai Waterhouse before three unplaced runs in black-type races during the spring.
Weir says he is still learning about the three-year-old and is not getting his hopes too high of having another Winx in his care.
“He’s been down the beach for two or three months and looks in good shape but he’s got plenty of improvement to come,” Weir said.
“He’s got a bit to live up to I suppose so if we can get some nice races out of him, that will work.”
Flamberge, the winner of the Oakleigh Plate and William Reid Stakes last year under the care of Peter Moody, is having his second preparation for Weir.
The trainer has taken the blinkers, lugging bit and tongue tie off the gelding and gone back to basics.
Flamberge has 62.5kg in Saturday’s race and is coming off a last-start eighth in a Flemington straight race during Melbourne Cup week.
Weir said Flamberge was unlikely to defend his Oakleigh Plate crown.
“He’s getting plenty of weight so we’ll work out after Saturday where we go with him,” he said.