It hasn’t taken long for trainer Stephen Brown to form a high opinion of recent stable recruit Lord Von Costa.
In his first race for Brown at Flemington two weeks ago, Lord Von Costa finished second to the exciting Spieth in an 1100m sprint.
It was the second time in two starts this campaign Lord Von Costa, formerly trained in Albury by part-owner Graham Hulm, has had to settle for second on his new home track.
But Brown takes confidence from the three-year-old’s last start heading into Saturday’s Listed A R Creswick Series Final (1200m).
“I’m super confident. I think he’s probably improved a fraction from last start and I think that’s good enough to win,” Brown said.
“I’d be surprised if he didn’t run in the first three.”
While the Bryce Heys-trained Spieth has been sent to the paddock for a break, Saturday’s Creswick Series Final has still attracted some talented three-year-olds including Group One-placed colt Odyssey Moon who has won his past two starts, the Darren Weir-trained Group Two placegetter Sooboog and stakes-winning colt Prince Of Brooklyn.
Brown believes Lord Von Costa can progress to Group level once he puts it all together.
“I think the horse has probably got a Group race in him and if he can win this race on Saturday I think we’ll probably put him away for the spring,” Brown said.
“I know it’s winter racing at the moment, but there are some nice three-year-olds around.
“The horse that beat him last start is a nice horse, but this big fellow has just got to learn to settle a little bit better.
“He’s just racing too hard.”
The job of getting him to settle on Saturday belongs to Craig Williams.
Odyssey Moon is the $3.30 favourite and his trainer Robert Smerdon admits he’s well-treated under the set weights plus penalties conditions.
“He’s a 91-rater and if you go through the ratings of the other runners, if it was a handicap he’d be a long way above them,” Smerdon said.
“I know it doesn’t always play out that way, but we’re happy to take the risk.”
Trainer Henry Dwyer has added blinkers to Chase The Horizon in a bid to help the colt improve on his fifth positions at his past two starts in heats of the series.