Del Prado to press Winter Championship claims

The three placegetters from a recent Winter Championship heat are set to clash again at Flemington with Del Prado favourite to turn the tables on veteran Jacquinot Bay.

Jacquinot Bay scored a first-up win in the 1400m open handicap at Flemington two weeks ago, defeating Del Prado and By The Grace but trainer Troy Corstens believes the result might have been different had Del Prado been able to get to the outside at a crucial stage at the top of the straight.

Saturday’s Brian Beattie Handicap (1400m) is the seventh heat in this year’s Winter Championship series with the final to be run at Flemington on July 9.

Corstens, who trains in partnership with his father Leon, said the Listed Winter Championship Final (1600m) has been the main aim for Del Prado all preparation and is confident the gelding is on target after his fast-finishing second last start.

He’ll be out to prove that with his performance in Saturday’s race, for which he is the $3.20 favourite.

After jumping from a wide barrier last start, Del Prado settled back in the 14-horse field and then made his charge between Jacquinot Bay and By The Grace.

“He’s the kind of horse that loves getting to the outside and he just wasn’t able to get the run to the outside last start and had to cut back inside the other horse (By The Grace),” Corstens said.

“I think it cost us the race.

“But he’s drawn wide again on Saturday so that’s going to help us in the smaller field. He should be able to get right to the outside on Saturday.

“And then that will have us primed for the final, which has been our goal all along.”

Corstens believes getting down in the weights to 54kg last start was a key to Del Prado running well and the gelding will again carry 54kg on Saturday.


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