By Ray Hickson
So far everything has gone to trainer Terry Robinson’s plan for consistent galloper Art Cadeau to target the Country Championships and Saturday’s TAB Highway (1100m) at Randwick is an important step.
The four-year-old is yet to finish worse than second in eight starts for only two wins but Robinson says that record could prove to be an advantage when he reaches the South East Qualifier at Nowra on February 14.
The weights for the Championships heats, Class 5 races, are determined by number of wins and regardless of whether he wins at Randwick he’ll carry the 56kg limit for colts and geldings.
“You can’t fault him but going into the Country Championships if we get there those six seconds could work in his favour,’’ Robinson said.
“We’ve been targeting the race and that’s why he had a blow after his last run and this is the only run he will have before the heat.”
Art Cadeau hasn’t raced since he ran second behind Warrah Flash in a 1200m Highway at Rosehill on November 28. He then spent three weeks at his owners’ property in Berry to freshen up.
Robinson said Art Cadeau, $2.90 favourite with TAB on Thursday, is in good shape for his return and can only expect him to continue his consistent form despite conceding 3.5kg or more to all his rivals.
“He’s well in himself, he’s done a treat. He used to be a very average doer early days but his last prep he did well and this time in he’s a different horse again,’’ he said.
“Even though he has a lot of weight they are only Class 2 horses so he deserves his weight.
“He’s drawn well and he’ll run a darn good race, he’s such an honest horse, he will put himself near the lead and he just tries.”
Tommy Berry rides the gelding for the fourth time on Saturday.
The $150,000 Qualifier at Nowra is run over 1400m and Robinson said he’s been itching to get Art Cadeau back out in distance after finishing close seconds in both attempts at that trip and beyond.
“I haven’t started him over 1400m for a while and I think he is a 1400m to 1600m horse by rights,’’ he said.
“There’s a lot to like about him. It’s three weeks to the heat after (Saturday) so we can give him a bit more work if we think he needs it or give him another jump out.”
Art Cadeau runs second at Rosehill in November
At this stage Art Cadeau is Robinson’s major Country Championships prospect but a pleasing return from Lady Demi in the next week would encourage the trainer to give her the chance as well.
Lady Demi will resume either at Warwick Farm on Tuesday or the Sapphire Coast on Sunday week at what will be her 20th start so she meets the eligibility criteria.
The six-year-old has had injury issues and that means she hasn’t started since October but Robinson said she’s coming along to his liking.
“She’s only had one run in over a year but I really like her,’’ he said.
“The Highway runs were terrific but she doesn’t help herself by getting back. If she can perform first-up I think she’s definitely up to those horses.”