South Australian trainer John Hickmott has been looking forward to the winter warmth of Darwin with in-form sprinter Arrow Lane.
Instead he will be at Moonee Valley on Saturday chasing a winning hat-trick with the sprinter in a benchmark 84 race over 1200m.
Hickmott had an assault on Saturday’s Palmerston Sprint in mind for Arrow Lane until a foot problem halted Darwin plans.
“I’ve been wanting to take him to Darwin two years in a row for the big sprint race as he’s won up there on the dirt,” Hickmott said.
“Two years ago something went wrong and then this time when I was getting him ready the vet cut a hole in his foot trying to get an abscess out, so I lost him for a month.
“But he’s back now and going good.”
Arrow Lane has been successful at Gawler and Morphettville at his past two starts and will be joined on Saturday’s trip to The Valley by his younger half-brother Turf Man who runs over 2500m.
While Turf Man has won over 1400m, Hickmott said he was an out-and-out stayer and while he was sure Arrow Lane would run 1400m, he described him as a brilliant little sprinter.
“It’s not much point going to a distance further than what suits them,” he said.
Hickmott has trained 51 winners this season, which could be enhanced before season’s end on Wednesday, an improvement on the 32 and 22 of the previous two seasons.
He cited an increase in horse numbers and working through the year for his bigger season tally.
“Last year I went away to Darwin for two months and it was a bit dormant at home,” Hickmott said.
“I had four or five horses in Darwin and the main team down here, we put them in the paddock.
“This year I couldn’t get away. As much as I would have liked a holiday, I’ve got too many horses.”
Besides his two runners at The Valley, Hickmott also has three runners at Morphettvile and one at Roxby Downs on Saturday.