Little has confidence in El Segundo
The "old" El Segundo is threatening to be unleashed in the Group One Futurity Stakes at Caulfield.
Trainer Colin Little has noted significant improvement in the seven-year-old in the last week and is looking for the 2007 Cox Plate winner to respond in the 1600m weight-for-age feature on Saturday.
"He’s certainly well enough to show the old El Segundo is back," Little said.
This week Little ramped up El Segundo’s training program and he said the results were starting to show.
"I wouldn’t think he is right at his top but he is certainly fitter," Little said.
"He has had two solid gallops on the course proper on Saturday and yesterday and he is definitely getting there."
TAB Sportsbet has El Segundo sharing the fourth line of Futurity betting at $9 with last year’s winner Niconero.
Alamosa remains $2.80 favourite ahead of his stablemate Light Fantastic ($3.40) and Time Matters ($5).
The Futurity will be El Segundo’s third run this campaign which is his first since winning the Cox Plate.
He caught the eye first-up when fifth to Lucky Secret in the Carlyon Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley but last start was a fading ninth to Maldivian in the Orr Stakes (1400m).
"We all knew he was very underdone his first couple of runs," Little said.
"It surprised me he went so well first-up but the softness showed second-up.
"Coming off a 12-month break we were always babying him through.
"We were not treating those races with contempt but we want a sound horse so we were not treating his first two or three runs like a Melbourne Cup."
El Segundo’s Cox Plate-winning jockey Luke Nolen rode the son of Pins last start in the Orr and will partner him again on Saturday, while Dan Brereton will ride stablemate Rubijon who is also in his first campaign after being on the long-term injury list.
Little said Rubijon was entered for a 1600-metre race at Moonee Valley on Friday night but the guaranteed minimum $10,000 in prizemoney which is paid down to eighth in the eight-horse Futurity was too appealing to pass up.
"He seems to be quite sound and we were contemplating Moonee Valley but being a big horse he doesn’t get around that track well at all," Little said.
"I don’t think he will trouble some of these horses but the prizemoney will help repay some of the expenses his owners have had over the last couple of years."
By Robert Windmill