Star Of Octagonal to return at Canterbury
A Newcastle course proper trial made Todd Howlett a happy trainer on two fronts on Monday.
Howlett believes he has Star Of Octgaonal ready to resume at Canterbury on Saturday after the one-time boom galloper came through his trial with a minimum of fuss.
The heat was one of two course proper trials held in front of Racing NSW stewards after urgent remedial work on the Broadmeadow track.
“The course proper looked in tremendous shape and everything should be right to go for the Boxing Day meeting,” Howlett said.
Supervising steward Greg Rudolph confirmed the track was ready for racing after it was closed in October because of safety concerns.
“The track is in great order and comments from the jockeys that rode in the two trials were very positive,” Rudolph said.
Howlett says Star Of Octagonal is also in prime condition for a return over 1100m at Canterbury.
“It was just an easy trial but he’s in good order and a wet track will be the only reason why he doesn’t run on Saturday,” Howlett said.
Star Of Octagonal made his way through to Group Three company as a three-year-old before winning the Scone Guineas to send his earnings past $600,000.
He been a source of frustration since, going winless in eight four-year-old starts last season.
“It’s fair to say he has lost his way a bit but if you go back through his form he’s run on a lot of wet tracks which haven’t helped him,” Howlett said.
“This time we’ll come back a bit in class with him and hopefully he can get his confidence back.”
Champion bush jockey Robert Thompson has been booked for the Canterbury mount.
“Robert has been riding him in all his work and his trials so it will be good to have him on board,” Howlett said.
Star Of Octagonal made two Brisbane winter carnival appearances earlier this year, finishing 12th in the Group One Stradbroke Handicap before his campaign came to an end with an unplaced run on Ipswich Cup day.
Potential Canterbury rivals for Star Of Octagonal include in-form mares Dystopia and Mrs Onassis as well as Tiger Tees, the Joe Pride-trained sprinter with five wins from seven starts.
Nominations for six of the eight Canterbury races have been extended until Tuesday.