Beau Mertens will continue his association with promising galloper Willi Willi at Pakenham.
Wodonga trainer Craig Widdison has stable star Willi Willi ready to begin his latest campaign and is excited to see what the gelding can produce this summer.
Willi Willi has won three of his six starts and is scheduled to resume in Saturday’s $120,000 VOBIS Gold Bullion (1400m) at Pakenham for his first start since winning the Silverbowl Series Final (1600m) at Flemington in July.
“It was always the plan to give him a bit of a break and deliberately miss the spring,” Widdison said.
“He was still pretty immature and had a lot to learn so instead of throwing him in the deep end we thought we’d wait and target the summer.
“He’s got a fairly low rating so we thought we’d just try to get his rating up and decided not to rush him.”
Willi Willi made his debut for former trainer Brian Cox in November 2016 in a Wodonga maiden won by Fuhryk.
He then won his maiden first-up for Widdison at Sandown in April.
“From the time I took him over he showed me a lot,” Widdison said.
Widdison had Willi Willi nominated for a Sandown race last week but opted to wait another week to give him a crack at the VOBIS Gold Bullion.
“I think he’ll get out to 2000 metres this preparation and I think he’ll be a pretty fair horse once he does,” he said.
“He’s a pretty exciting sort of horse. Everything he has done so far he has done on raw ability.
“The thing I like about him is he really attacks the line.”
Beau Mertens won the Silverbowl Final on Willi Willi and retains the ride.
“He is probably not really well in at the weights in this sort of race,” Widdison said.
“I’d imagine he would get back a little bit but I’d expect him to work home pretty solidly. I’d be happy if he could run top-five first-up.”
Burning Front, winner of more than $1.3 million prize money, headlines the field of 16 along with Grande Rosso who beat Burning Front in last year’s edition of the race.