Greg Eurell thought enough of Fontein Lad to run him in the Queensland Derby and the trainer is optimistic about the gelding’s chances to break through for his first win of this season at Pakenham.
Fontein Lad finished seventh in the Group One Queensland Derby (2400m) at the final start of his three-year-old season in June and will be having his fourth run of this preparation in Saturday’s Hanson BM78 Handicap.
He raced below his trainer’s expectations when second last over 1400m at Cranbourne in his season return but has since finished third at Moonee Valley and second at Cranbourne last start, carrying 61kg in a 2060m benchmark-70.
“I was a bit shocked at his first-up run because it was well below-par considering the way he was going in his preparation,” Eurell said.
“But he bounced back from that and I thought his last run was very, very good considering the weight he had to carry.
“He hasn’t missed a beat since.”
Eurell pinpointed Saturday’s 2000m race, for which Fontein Lad is the $3.60 favourite, as an ideal target at this stage of his preparation.
“Everything has gone nicely so hopefully the track is not too wet tomorrow and we can see what he can do,” Eurell said.
“I’d be very disappointed if he doesn’t run well because he’s just given us every indication he will.”
Pakenham was rated a heavy (8) after a Friday morning inspection having recieved 29mm of rain in the previous 24 hours.
Eurell said Mr Churchill was in good shape for Saturday’s Sportsbet Power Play BM70 Handicap (1600m) but indicated the track would have to improve to at least a soft (6) for him to run.
“It doesn’t look a bad race for him tomorrow but I just hope the track is a bit drier than what it is at the moment,” Eurell said.
“If it stays at an eight, unfortunately I’ll have to pull him out because he’s just not going to be at his best.”