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Barthelona to make Flemington return

A $250,000 sales restricted race is the aim for sprinting colt Barthelona but first he will be out to prove his effectiveness down the straight at Flemington when he resumes from a spell.

The Mike Moroney-trained Barthelona has won three of his four starts and is set to make his return in Saturday’s 1100m handicap for three-year-olds.

It will be the first time Barthelona has raced on the straight course on his home track but Moroney says he was pleased with the way he handled it in a jump-out last spring.

Barthelona has had two jump-outs around a bend leading into his first start since October including a solid hit-out at Flemington last Friday when he won his heat.

“He’s a bit stronger now so I had to give him a bit of a decent hit-out,” Moroney said.

“He’s been mainly aimed at the race a fortnight later but he’s forward enough to run well on Saturday.

“We gave him a jump-out down the straight in the spring and it looked like he went well down the straight.”

The $250,000 Inglis Dash (1100m) at Flemington on January 28 is the second-up target for Barthelona, a half-brother to Group One winner Under The Louvre.

“We wanted to give him a run beforehand but he’s forward enough to run well,” the trainer said.

“He’s got his share of weight for a horse who’s not overly big, but he is a stronger horse now.”

Barthelona won at Bendigo on debut as a late-season two-year-old and added victories at Sandown and Caulfield in his first two starts at three before finishing 10th in the Blue Sapphire Stakes in October.

Patrick Moloney takes over the ride from the suspended Ryan Maloney.

Stablemate Vandancer, meanwhile, can confirm Sydney autumn carnival plans when she chases back-to-back city wins in Saturday’s 2000m benchmark-84 for fillies and mares.

Vandancer scored over 1800m in the same grade at Sandown on December 24 and Moroney said the mare had trained on well.

“We always thought she wanted a bit of give in the ground but she’s got by on top of the ground now,” he said.

“She’s quite a handy mare and we’d like to chase black type with her at some stage.

“It looks a nice race for her.”

Providing Vandancer performs to expectations, Moroney said they would give her a short break before heading to Sydney autumn races such as the Group Three Epona Stakes (1900m).

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