Flying Artie has made his spring return a winning one in the Blue Sapphire Stakes at Caulfield, but his trainer Mick Price is concerned the colt is still ring-rusty heading to a Group One assignment in 18 days.
Ridden by Damien Oliver, Flying Artie was sent out the $1.85 favourite in Wednesday’s Group Three 1200m-sprint which he won by 1-1/4 lengths from Dalradian ($101) with Derryn ($6) a half-length away third.
The three-year-old over-raced at his first run in seven months throwing his head around and approaching the 600m, Oliver angled Flying Artie out from behind the leader Dalradian, contacting Ken’s Dream.
The Group One Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington on October 29 is shaping as a spring highlight with Flying Artie’s opposition likely to include stablemate Extreme Choice, Godolphin colt Astern and Russian Revolution.
Price says he will need to see how Flying Artie gets through his win on Wednesday before pressing ahead to the Coolmore.
“He did a lot wrong, especially when he got to 100 metres out and clocked off,” Price said.
“I’m glad I ran him because he raced like a horse that needs racing.
“It is only 18 days to the Coolmore which is a race we’d like to win with him and today will help as he hasn’t been to the races for a long time.
“The first thing I need to do is let him get over the race and bounce back. I’m just a bit concerned with how green he was.”
Flying Artie was having his first start since running third behind Capitalist in the Golden Slipper at Rosehill in March after which he was diagnosed with sesamoiditis.
He ran second to Extreme Choice in the Blue Diamond in the autumn and Price conceded on Wednesday’s performance, recent Moir Stakes winner Extreme Choice would have his measure again.
“Extreme Choice is very aggressive to the line whereas this horse wouldn’t want to be having a wander around in the last furlong and try and tackle Extreme Choice,” Price said.
Oliver expects Flying Artie to derive a lot of benefit from the race.
“He was just a bit fresh,” Oliver said.
“He was running out of gas a little bit and when he got to the front his head came up and he thought the job was done.
“He hasn’t been in that position too often. He’s had horses to chase down before and he’ll come on in fitness too.”