iskander

Morton ready to blast sprint stars


West Australian trainer Danny Morton hasn’t been scared off by ace sprinters Weekend Hussler and Apache Cat and will take them both on in the Group One Lightning Stakes with his star galloper Scenic Blast.

Danny Morton with Scenic Blast The four-year-old looked to be in for a successful spring carnival when he won well first-up over 1200m at Caulfield last August.

But he was found to have a wind problem after he finished 11th behind Weekend Hussler in the Group Two Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 30.

Scenic Blast resumed with a 3-3/4 length second to Dante’s Volonte in a 1100m open handicap at Ascot on January 10.

"He’s prepped up pretty well. He’s back after a throat operation which he had in Melbourne last spring so you’re on tenterhooks a little bit hoping they have come back as good as they were before, but I’ve got no reason to believe that he hasn’t so we’re looking forward to it," Morton said.

"He had an epiglottis entrapment which as far as wind operations go is the one you want to have if you have to have one.

"It’s all good so far. He’s been scoped a few times to make sure it’s all on track which it is."

During the spring of 2007, the gelding carried his good Perth form to Melbourne winning the McNeil Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield and running second to Tan Tat De Lago in the Danehill Stakes (1200m) at Flemington.

He chased Weekend Hussler home when runner-up in the Caulfield Guineas (1600m) and was third to him in the Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington.

"There is certainly a plenty of depth in the race, that’s for sure," Morton said regarding the Lightning Stakes (1100m) on January 31.

"But he’s pretty much raced at the top level fora while now and as long as everything is right with him going into the big races he should give a good account of himself."

Morton last week also nominated Scenic Blast for the $1 million Newmarket Hcp (1200m) run at Flemington on March 7.

Apache Cat won the 2008 Lightning Stakes but did not contest the Newmarket Handicap won by Weekend Hussler.

By Mark Ryan