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Kirani up for challenge at Flemington

Trainer Pat Hyland will happily pay a rating penalty if Kirani can capture a stakes race win at Flemington.

Kirani lines up for the second start of his campaign in Saturday’s Listed Kensington Stakes.

Just on a year ago Kirani paid a heavy price for victory in the Sale Quality which Hyland said was a contributing factor in what turned out to be a poor campaign for the gelding.

Kirani went up nine points in the ratings which put him up in the weights and he carried 62.5kg and 61.5kg in his last two outings before a spell.

Resuming with 60.5kg and a change in tactics, Kirani finished second at Flemington on January 14 at $101..

“Last start Stephen Baster rode him a bit differently to what he had been ridden,” Hyland said.

“He rode him on the quiet side.

“I know it wasn’t the best race in the world but at the same time he had 60.5 kilograms with another kilo for the vest, so he had it a bit tough.”

Baster again takes the ride on Saturday and Kirani drops to 54kg.

Kirani attempts 1000m for the first time but has a win and a second placing at his only two tries short of 1200m.

“I know it’s only 1000 metres which may be short of his best but if he’s able to ride him like he rode him the other day I’m sure he’ll be very competitive,” Hyland said.

Hyland was contemplating returning for the Sale Quality early next month but noticed it had dropped from $80,000 to $60,000 and thought racing in town for more money was a better option.

“I can go to town and run for more than that and I can also run for that money in a restricted race in town,” he said.

Kirani is rated a $51 chance in early markets with the Darren Weir-trained Hellbent at $1.70 favourite in first markets with El Divino, a half-brother to champion mare WInx and having his first start for Weir, second pick at $7.

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