Diamond Tathagata will be trying to recapture his best form when he contests the Inglis Sprint.
Trainer Mark Newnham admits time is running out for Diamond Tathagata to rediscover the sparkle that produced a Skyline Stakes win last season.
Twelve months on from Diamond Tathagata’s Group Two success, the three-year-old is under pressure to perform against top quality opposition in Saturday’s Inglis Sprint (1100m) at Warwick Farm.
Newnham has been baffled by Diamond Tathagata’s inability to push on from his exploits in the Skyline.
In three Group One starts, Diamond Tathagata trailed the winner by at least 10 lengths in the Golden Slipper, Sires’ Produce Stakes and Golden Rose between March and September.
Newnham is understandably wary as Diamond Tathagata seeks redemption in a seven-strong field featuring the return of Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign and highly rated Melbourne sprinter Nature Strip.
“His work yesterday morning on the course proper was very good, if he can run up to that he’ll competitive. If he doesn’t we’re back to the drawing board,” Newnham said.
“Outwardly there doesn’t appear to be anything wrong. He just didn’t come up last prep after a heavy autumn. Perhaps that’s why.
“We’ll need to make some decisions after he’s had a run or two. He’s certainly got enough talent, it’s just getting him to do his best,” he said.
Newnham added blinkers for Diamond Tathagata’s to no avail for the Golden Rose (1400m), where he lagged 15 lengths behind Trapeze Artist, and has tinkered with his gear again.
“I’ve taken off the blinkers, the cross over nose band and a tongue tie will be on,” he said.
Tim Clark takes over the reins for the first time after getting acquainted with Diamond Tathagata in his most recent barrier trial last week and Newnham expected the duo to benefit from drawing barrier two.
“She Will Reign drew inside, her form is pretty faultless so being next to her is probably not a bad place to be,” he said.
The John Sadler-trained Nature Strip drew barrier three.
Newnham also saddles up two-year-old colt The Enzo for the fourth start of his career the Listed Inglis Classic (1200m).
“He appreciated the step up to 1200 metres last start and he’ll be suited by a good-pressure race,” he said.
“He’s not a Slipper horse but I’m happy to have him in a $250,000 race.”