Adelaide sprinter Nearest To Pin returns to the scene of his biggest win for an attempt at back-to-back All Victorian Sprint Series Final victories at Flemington.
Nearest To Pin hasn’t won since taking out the Listed 1200m race 12 months ago but trainer Leon Macdonald believes the gelding is going as well as before his 2014 victory heading into Saturday’s renewal.
“The horse is going well and he’s up to those horses, but no better than them,” Macdonald said.
“His last run at Moonee Valley was very good. He was pretty brave to stick on for second after sitting outside the leader.
“He won this race last year and I suppose that’s a plus because he handles the straight.”
Nearest To Pin’s win in the 2014 All Victorian Sprint Series Final is the five-year-old’s only stakes success to date.
He has not raced at Flemington since his fifth in a Group Two sprint during last spring’s Melbourne Cup carnival.
Macdonald, who trains in partnership with Andrew Gluyas, also nominated Nearest To Pin for a 1200m race at Gawler on Saturday.
“When we assessed both the fields we thought it was worth having a throw at the stumps in the Melbourne race,” Macdonald said.
“It’s a pretty competitive race but I didn’t think there was anything outstanding in it.”
Hard Romp has been installed the $5 favourite with TAB fixed odds in the field of 13 ahead of last-start winner Lonrockstar ($5.50).
Nearest To Pin opened at $16 but is in to $11.
Macdonald also has two-year-old Royal Rumble in Saturday’s Listed Taj Rossi Series Final.
Royal Rumble has won his past two starts in Adelaide including a victory over 1300m last Saturday.
Macdonald noted Royal Rumble has won on a seven-day back up already this campaign.
“He’s probably nearly ready for the paddock but he’s going well and is by New Approach, so he should be well-suited by the 1600 metres,” Macdonald said.
“He deserves his chance in a race like that.”
Macdonald is looking more to the autumn than the spring with Royal Rumble.
“I think it’s pretty hard to give him a spell and expect him to be back in the spring,” he said.
“If he measures up on Saturday, he’ll probably more than likely go and have a nice spell and be ready nice and early in the autumn.”
Article from justhorseracing.com.au