Image: Bruno Cannatelli
Arran Bay will be looking to improve on his already solid record at Flemington when he tries to repeat his last win at Pakenham.
Trainer Phillip Stokes says the four-year-old has been training well in preparation for Saturday’s #Lovethehorse Trophy (1600m) at Flemington.
Arran Bay scored a victory at Pakenham on 3 December over 1600m on his second return from layoff after disappointing the trainer with his pre-race antics at Cranbourne when he resumed.
The gelding has raced at Flemington four times, recording a win and two placings, but won his only start at the trip on Saturday.
That came in July in the Silverbowl final, when he beat Cardinal Gem before going on a spell.
Stokes said Arran Bay had dropped races at Flemington before that win, but the trainer noticed an improvement in the gelding’s demeanor at Pakenham.
“He’s won at Flemington before and he’s doing things in a better way now,” Stokes said.
“He used to throw races away by holding on, but now he’s starting to mature.
“The first one at Cranbourne he lost the plan and left the race early, but he was really good at Pakenham yesterday and hopefully he’ll stay that way at Flemington.”
“He’s well trained and looks good in his coat. It’s a good competitive race, but I’m really happy with it.”
Stokes believes Arran Bay will be able to win a better race in time than the 84 benchmark company it will be up against on Saturday.
With that thought in mind, Stokes said he could give Arran Bay a short break after Saturday, content with a three-start campaign.
“I don’t know how deep I’m going to go,” Stokes said.
“I can give him a little break after this. He still has to do with the furniture and I think the best is before the preparation.’
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