By Ray Hickson
Goulburn trainer Jean Dubois is rapt to have Group winning colt Aylmerton back in his care but is cautious about the three-year-old’s first-up prospects at Rosehill on Saturday.
Aylmerton won his first two starts, including the Group 2 Todman Stakes, then Coolmore snapped up a half share in the horse prior to running 10th in the Golden Slipper.
He was then transferred to the Lindsay Park operation in Victoria but failed to live up to expectation with three unplaced runs in the spring.
Dubois said Aylmerton has been back in training with him since early December and appears to be the same horse that walked out of the stable – whether that’s a good thing remains to be seen.
“Physically he looks as he was. He hasn’t grown up very much between two and three, he’s still 15.3 hands,’’ he said.
“He’s a happy horse, he’s very sound and very bright and has been fantastic in training.’’
Aylmerton was nominated for a three-year-old event at Randwick on Australia Day but Dubois elected to wait until the Rise Up This Autumn Handicap (1200m) on Saturday and take on older horses.
Aylmerton goes through his paces in a Rosehill trial on January 15
He ran fifth behind Sandbar in his only official trial on January 15 but was put through his paces in private earlier this week to have him ready to race.
“We could have run in the three-year-old race last but he would have had to carry 61kg,’’ he said.
“I thought that was a bit too much weight first-up. This race is more suitable.
“He looks good, he had an easy trial but we jumped him out on Tuesday at Goulburn to sharpen him up a bit.’’
Where does Aylmerton fit into the carnival picture?
There are races like the Group 2 $1m Arrowfield Sprint (1200m) during The Championships to target though Dubois said he feels the colt is giving him the impression he could stretch out to a mile.
But Dubois is taking the low road first-up – low considering he is a Group 2 winner – but the same could be said for fellow three-year-old Performer who kicks off in the same race.
Ironically, Performer was the hot favourite in the Todman, on the back of winning the Canonbury at the corresponding meeting last year, but threw Hugh Bowman when making his run.
Performer is a $5 chance with TAB while Aylmerton sits on the $13 line. Dubois said he expects Aylmerton to run well and to have his chance from an ideal barrier.
“He will jump well, I’ll ask Andrew (Adkins) to be just off the pace,’’ he said.
“I would like to have him relaxed, that’s the key to him because he can be a bit keen sometimes. In the stretch we will see if he is sharp enough.
“It’s a challenge to have him back at the top level. It’d be nice to get him back to Group level where he deserves to be. He’s a good horse but we will see more on Saturday.’’