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Ashkannd set to challenge old stablemates

Trainer Richard Litt is looking to Ashkannd to stretch his winning streak to three at Warwick Farm.

Richard Litt will attempt to upstage Chris Waller when a gelding he acquired from his compatriot challenges a Warwick Farm field dominated by Sydney’s premier trainer.

Ashkannd is in the midst of a racing resurgence since being transferred to Litt’s developing stable in September, and the seven-year-old gelding is going after a hat-trick.

He confronts six former stablemates in Saturday’s ATC Owners Benefit Card Handicap (2100m), and Litt is confident of a decent showing from a horse that typifies his operation.

Since his father Jim returned to New Zealand last December, Litt has built a stable at Warwick Farm based on pre-training and experienced hand-me-downs.

Ashkannd joined Litt after failing to come up in the late winter and early spring after a long lay-off.

The change of environment, and racing pattern, has paid dividends.

He had not won since February 2016 but under Litt’s care he has claimed back-to-back midweek races after a bedding-in process.

“It took a long time to work him out. We knew he had the ability it was just getting it out of him,” Litt said.

He said the key was turning Ashkannd into an on-speed runner after consultation with jockey Adam Hyeronimus.

“Chris spent a lot of time trying to slow him down in his races. We tried that too and then gave up,” Litt said.

“We let him run as quick as he wants to go. That seems to be the turnaround for him. He can do what he likes.”

Litt is happy with barrier seven in the 10-horse field and will be even happier if the forecast rain eventuates.

“There’s some nice horses in there but confidence is a great thing,” he said.

Waller has a strong contingent headed by Carzoff while Mortar Platoon, Great Glen, Lead Choreographer, Mornington and Tumultuous are also in the field.

Litt also saddles up Il Mio Destino in the Hyland Boxing Day Sale Sprint (1200m) as the seven-year-old mare strives for her 10th win at her 58th start.

“She’ll go forward and she’ll be tough,” he said.

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