By Ray Hickson
Trainer Joe Pride spent the winter frustrated by knowing Superium was flying but his brilliance was being dampened by wet tracks.
The four-year-old returns in spring with dry ground assured in the Antler Luggage Sprint (1000m) at Randwick on Saturday and Pride believes the horse is going just as well so it’s now time for Superium to put some runs on the board.
Superium didn't have a bad winter, though it was winless he didn't finish worse than fifth in four starts but he lacked a punch at the business end.
“I’m convinced he was going really well but he just couldn’t let down on those heavy tracks. And they were heavy,’’ Pride said.
“He wasn’t running poorly but he wasn’t running to his best and you need that to be winning on Saturday in Sydney. He strikes his first dry track for some time and I liked the way he trialled.”
His last win was a first-up victory at Randwick back in December and in that race he beat Embracer and Splintex, the latter went on to win a Group 2 during the Championships and had a crack at an Everest berth this spring.
He was also first past the post in the Group 3 Up & Coming Stakes last year before losing on protest – that form is getting on the old side and that’s why this campaign is so important.
“He’s a nice horse, a big strong boy and hopefully this is his preparation where he can make the transition because he spent the last 12 months pretty much plateauing in his benchmarks,’’ Pride said.
Superium runs third in a trial at Hawkesbury on September 29
“I can blame the wet tracks but this preparation he has to do it.
“He’s dynamic fresh, he always runs good races fresh and I like him at Randwick.
“I’m not convinced about him at Rosehill but he has been there a few times on wet tracks so it’s a bit hard to judge.”
The gelding strikes a race that looks to have genuine speed, as you’d expect for 1000m, and Pride said that will suit him and he’s been prepared to be effective at the short trip with one easy trial.
He’s a $7 chance with TAB and Rory Hutchings, who was on board in his only trial, takes the ride.
“For 1000m races you can nearly go in without a trial because you need speed in their legs and that’s what I’ve left him with,’’ Pride said.
As the Warwick Farm trainer prepares to enjoy his first TAB Everest week as a participant in the race with Eduardo he said his other stable star Fasika’s spring is over after a disappointing effort in last weekend’s Premiere Stakes.
Pride had hoped Fasika could run to the form that saw her Group 1 placed in the autumn, and force her way into the Everest, but she could only manage sixth behind Libertini and she’ll be sent for scintigraphy to try to uncover what caused her two below par runs.
“We have to find out what’s going on with her, she’s not coping at all. She looks great but she’s not sound, we have to get right to the bottom of it,’’ he said.
“She looked really uncomfortable out there but I don’t think anything actually happened to her in the race.
“She’ll be back for an autumn and winter campaign and hopefully she can be back to her best.”