A half-brother to Stradbroke Handicap winner Under The Louvre will press his claims for feature sprints when he begins his campaign at Sandown.
The Mike Moroney-trained Barthelona won his only start as a juvenile at Bendigo in May and resumes in Wednesday’s Grand Hotel Frankston Handicap (1000m).
“He’s the quickest of our three-year-olds,” Moroney said.
“So we think if we’ve got a horse that can have a go at these three-year-old sprint races, he’s the one we’ve got.
“That’s why he’s kicking off over 1000 metres.”
Moroney said Barthelona had always shown ability and the trainer took the colt to Sydney for a barrier trial in December to try to qualify for the Inglis Classic.
But after he ran badly in the trial Moroney gave him a break to strengthen up.
“There was nothing wrong with him. He was weak,” Moroney said.
“That’s why he didn’t get going over the Christmas period. We gave him a bit of a break and he won his only start of his autumn campaign.”
Barthelona has had a couple of jump-outs at Flemington ahead of his return.
“His jump-outs have both been very good. He’s well forward for a 1000-metre race,” Moroney said.
The Group One Coolmore Stud Stakes is the major sprint for three-year-olds during the Melbourne spring and Moroney hopes the colt can show he is up to that.
The Danehill Stakes is a more immediate target if he performs on Wednesday.
While Barthelona is a sprinter, Moroney has stablemates San Vincenzo and Top Of The Range pegged as Derby hopefuls.
They both scheduled to have their first starts in Wednesday’s Cove Hotel Plate (1400m).
San Vincenzo has been scratched three times in the past week because of wide barriers but has drawn well this time, while Top Of The Range has a wide gate.
“If we’ve got Derby chances, they’d be our two Derby chances I would think,” Moroney said, adding recent Sandown placegetter Tara Iti is also in Derby consideration.
“They’re only just kicking off. They’re both pretty new about the whole thing but they both possess nice ability. So it will be interesting to see what they do.”
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au