Racing: D-Day looms for Sangster

Busuttin will map out plan of attack for classy stayer after he races at Moonee Valley

Khemosabi will be chasing a hat-trick at Awapuni on Saturday after this all-the-way win at Hastings. Photo / APN
Khemosabi will be chasing a hat-trick at Awapuni on Saturday after this all-the-way win at Hastings. Photo / APN

Cambridge stayer Sangster has arrived in Melbourne ahead of Saturday's group two Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley, a race which will help launch the talented galloper's cups campaign this spring.

The Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young-trained 5-year-old kicked off his preparation with an eye-catching sixth placing in the Foxbridge Plate (1200m) on August 31, before turning in a below-par performance in the Makfi Challenge Stakes (1400m), behind Survived, at Hastings last start.

"Sometimes stars can put in a slow one second-up," Busuttin said. "The track was dead-set bottomless that day. He does enjoy the cut out of the ground, but he just couldn't pick his feet up.

"He definitely knew he had had a run but he is older and wiser now and he looked after himself a bit.

"The horse has settled into Melbourne well. He had a gallop at Flemington on Tuesday morning with Orion of Murray Baker's and he galloped well and has pulled up good."

Busuttin will wait to see how Sangster performs on Saturday before confirming his next steps.

"The 1600m will be too sharp for him and if Atlantic Jewel runs in the race we will be running for second or minor placings," he said. "However, apart from her and Happy Trails, who are genuine group one milers, we are all in the same boat.

"He is still a bit off his peak so I'm not expecting a winning run, but I would like to see him run well and weigh in if we are to target the Turnbull Stakes and Caulfield Cup."

Busuttin's task became that much easier when Mark Kavanagh accepted Atlantic Jewel for the Top Cut Stocks Stakes, a group two weight-for-age 1600m race restricted to mares. She will start at Black Caviar odds.

Meanwhile, closer to home, Cambridge owner-trainer Paul Gordon was disappointed to miss out on his prime winter goal with Khemosabi, but the strapping grey has delivered a good measure of compensation since.

Gordon prepared the son of Commands to win the Listed Opunake Cup in 2012 and the former Taranaki resident had set his sights on a repeat performance in this year's renewal. "He got run off the track the whole way and it was just bizarre. He drew out wide and Magic Belle was inside him and young Dylan [Turner] couldn't get in behind."

Khemosabi faded out of contention after covering so much ground, but his fortunes have turned around at his last two appearances and he will now attempt to complete a hat-trick in Saturday's Merial Ancare Metric Mile at Awapuni.

He finished eighth in the Winter Cup and then came out and won the open sprint at Riccarton a week later before a commanding front-running performance to score over 1600m last time out at Hastings.

"His last two runs have been really good and it's been a big thrill - it doesn't always happen, but he had been working well and not having any luck and the track for the Winter Cup found a lot of them out," Gordon said.

"He doesn't like it puggy - he gets away with it when it's soft and likes it best when it's loose."

Khemosabi has been partnered in his last two successes by David Walker, who will retain the mount at Awapuni.

- NZ Racing Desk

- NZ Herald

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