Eight-year-old Amber Sky will make his Australian debut in the Kensington Stakes at Flemington and shapes as one of the most interesting runners in the Listed sprint.
Amber Sky is one of three runners for trainers Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra in Saturday’s 1000m-straight race along with multiple Group One winner Flamberge, and Rock ‘N’ Gold.
Former Hong Kong sprinter Amber Sky won the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint in Dubai in 2014, his most recent of seven career wins from 28 starts.
Zahra said Amber Sky became difficult to place in Hong Kong which led to him being sent to their stable to be tried in Australia.
“He’s well. He might be a bit rusty, I reckon on Saturday,” Zahra said.
“He looks like he’ll tighten up nicely from the run.
“He’ll run well, but I reckon he just might feel the pinch a bit late.”
A jump-and-run sprinter, Amber Sky has won four jump-outs since the start of December, including at Werribee on Monday, to try to build fitness.
“He’s been here since about August,” Zahra said.
“We had a lot of trouble with his feet. Our farrier did a good job. He stood in a box for about 10 weeks. We got his feet right and then he had a month off and then came back through.”
In a competitive field, the TAB has Amber Sky shading Thermal Current for favouritism, with seven of the eight runners at single figures.
“He might be too good for them, who knows. We just think his fitness will benefit from the run,” Zahra said.
Flamberge had two starts for the stable in 2016 after starting his career with Peter Moody for whom he won three Group One races.
The eight-year-old is back with Ellerton and Zahra after having six starts for Darren Weir.
Flamberge has earned top weight of 61.5kg for his first start since March.
“He’s showing good signs at home,” Zahra said.
“I thought he trialled really well on Monday.
“It’s always been if he’s not going well or he feels sore he’ll retire but we’ve had no reason to think anything less than he’ll be pretty competitive on Saturday.”
Rock ‘N’ Gold ($18) goes into the race off a freshen-up.
“He might not be quite up to it but there’s going to be enough speed where he can just drop the bit and see if he can hit the line,” Zahra said.
“He trialled well as well on Monday.”