By Ray Hickson
Jockey Tim Clark is confident the patient approach will pay dividends when lightly raced import Vadiyann makes his long awaited return at Newcastle on Saturday.
The six-year-old has only raced once in Australia for Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, for an impressive win over 2000m in December last year, and Clark, who rides a lot of the horse’s work and both trials this spring, has seen the benefit of giving him time.
“He’s coming along very well, I’m rapt with how he’s going,’’ Clark said.
“I think he is a bit more switched on than this time last year where he’d come from overseas. Even though he won he may not have been fully focused or knew how to cope with the Australian way.
“He is still only lightly raced, there’s plenty of upside, he’s done a lot of work and he is ready to go.
“He’s got a nice race in him at some point the way he is progressing.”
Vadiyann was $2.30 favourite with TAB on Thursday for his return in the Senpos Point Of Sale Handicap (1850m).
He’s trialled twice and scored a runaway win over 1200m at his second hitout on October 30.
Clark said he learned long ago not to doubt the Waterhouse team when they kick off a staying type over distance and says he won’t be beaten on the score of fitness.
“The stable knows how to get them ready and they generally present very fit, this horse will be no different,’’ he said.
“I’ve ridden a fair bit of his work, he’s a strong worker and gets himself pretty fit. It’s the least of my worries.
“When I’m riding them and they are starting off over a trip or stepping up a long way in trip you can question that sort of preparation but more often than not you end up with egg on your face if you do.”
At his only local start, which was off a 15 month absence, Vadiyann chased a solid tempo set by Fun Fact and was left a sitting shot a long way out but was still able to stave them off.
“There’s potential for there to be a little bit of speed but he will be up there somewhere,’’ Clark said.
“When he won last year he sat on a pretty hot speed and was still strong at the end of 2000m at Randwick. He’s had a similar build up and the 1850m looks an ideal starting point.”
It’s closing in on 1000 days since Clark’s ride in the $1m The TAB Hunter (1300m), El Dorado Dreaming, posted her lone win and he said he’s relying on trainer Kris Lees, who has five runners in the feature, having the mare right.
That one win, from now 18 starts, was the Group 1 Sires’ Produce back in April 2018 and the now five-year-old has undergone surgery for a right arytenoidectomy to correct a breathing issue since her last start earlier this year.
Vadiyann wins a trial at Randwick on October 31
She’s a $34 chance in The Hunter but Clark said if she can regain her form even of last spring, which saw her place third in the Hot Danish and a close fifth in The Gong, she could spring a surprise.
“No doubt it is a target race for her, a $1m race on her home track,’’ he said.
“The ability is there if she puts it all together and if she gets the right sort of run. She hasn’t won for a while and that’s a bit of a concern, whether she is past her best or not.
“She’s in with a light weight and hopefully she’s got another win or two in her and we can see the best of her.”