By Ray Hickson
Trainer Jarrod Austin is adamant there’s a win in Looks Like Elvis this preparation and he’s hoping jockey Nash Rawiller can weave some magic on the luckless galloper at Hawkesbury on Thursday.
A wet track and a wide barrier isn’t the scenario Austin would choose for the six-year-old in the Listed $150,000 Lander Toyota Ladies Day Cup (1600m) but he has the spring carnival form on the board to suggest there are positives.
Looks Like Elvis was placed in the Group 2 Shannon Stakes after a wide run in September then went down swinging beaten 1.7 lengths in the Group 1 Epsom before a last start failure in the Spring Mile on Everest Day that Austin is striking from the record.
“I thought perhaps we took him back to the races a bit quickly,’’ he said.
“He had a bee in his bonnet before the race, everything was going according to plan but when they got into position the speed slackened off quite noticeably.
“He got over racing and once he started doing that he just didn’t want to come back.”
Importantly, Austin said Looks Like Elvis came through the run, seventh behind Purple Sector, in very good shape.
Looks Like Elvis runs fifth in the Epsom Handicap
He’s a $5.50 chance with TAB in a wide open Ladies Day Cup and he said while he'd prefer firmer ground by the time the race is run it may be advantageous to be drawn off the track.
“He came through the run super and pulled up well so I just think you forget about the run and move forward,’’ he said.
“I’m not overly happy with the barrier or prospect of a heavy track but we can’t help those things.
“You breathe a little easier knowing Nash is on board, he’s riding in super form and we’ll leave it up to him.”
It’s likely Austin will press on to the $1m The Gong (1600m) at Kembla Grange on November 21 if the horse wins or runs well at Hawkesbury.
Stablemate Carluca may be a nine-year-old but he continues to race well and Austin is expecting another honest performance in the Fowler Civil Contracting Handicap (1600m).
He’s a Hawkesbury specialist who was beaten a length by a progressive horse called Wairere Falls at the October 22 meeting.
“He had his momentum stopped with the big weight last start, it cost him a chance to fight out the finish, but he ran a nice race,’’ Austin said.
“It’s a bit stronger race but in saying that the winner did come out after and win in town. He gets a nice barrier and I’d expect him to be right in the finish.
“He’s just lost that length of acceleration he had when he was a bit younger. But he will run his good honest race and will be getting home hard the last bit.”
Meanwhile Austin said he’s hoping Inanup can gain a start in Saturday week’s $1m The Hunter (1300m) at Newcastle after a close up fourth first-up on October 24.
He feels the gelding is on the cusp of securing a place in the field with a 91 rating though was counting on him picking up a couple of benchmark points at Randwick.