Viceroy to step up at Randwick at first Saturday metro race for Pepper

Viceroy winning a midweek metro race at Canterbury

Viceroy has the chance to prove himself at Randwick with Canberra trainer Luke Pepper confident the time is right to step him up in class.

The five-year-old has his first Saturday metropolitan start in a Benchmark 79 Handicap (1200m) after resuming with a midweek victory at Canterbury last month.

Viceroy, who joined Pepper from Tony McEvoy’s Flemington stable early last year, had been slated for a Saturday race in his previous preparation but a win on heavy ground took its toll.

He trained off after that win and struggled in his next start,” Pepper said.

Refreshed by a spell, Viceroy made a successful comeback over 1100m on December 15 and has subsequently impressed Pepper with his work.

“He’s been going super this time,” Pepper said.

“He’s really taken good benefit from that run. I think he’s found the right race to have his Saturday debut.”

Pepper said although he was happy to bring Viceroy to town, a return to the Riverina where he won his first start for the trainer was also an aim.

“We’d love to have this horse ready for the Wagga Town Plate in May,” he said.

“That would be an ideal race for that sort of calibre of horse but we’ll decide which way we go with him after Saturday.”

Pepper, who has 17 in work, said Viceroy was among his favourites.

“He’s been one of the easiest horses to train. He’s pretty much the stable pet. He’s got a great nature, he loves his work,” he said.

“He seems to have his zest for racing again.”.

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