"Arty" returns to races this Saturday night

by Adam Hamilton

The “Beast” is back. At his best, Lochinvar Art is irresistibly great and the sport needs him firing.

But will we see him at his best again?

The jury is out after his cameo comeback campaign saw him race dour when he was winless in three races earlier this year.

But go back to late 2020/early 2021 and he was THE horse of the sport.

As great as King Of Swing was, Lochinvar Art was better when both were at their prime.

So, we will all watch with huge interest when “Arty” returns from a spell at Melton on Saturday night.

At his best, he would toy with his rivals.

But he is first-up since a fifth in the Hunter Cup on February 5 and has an outside back row barrier draw to overcome in the 2240m race.

With regular trainer-driver David Moran still out suspended until September 15, Rodney Lakey has been training Lochinvar Art and Nathan Jack will take the reins on Saturday night.

Jack has also driven Arty in his two trials in preparation for this return.

“They were totally different trials,” he said. “He didn’t feel that great in the first one, but was a different horse the second time.

“He felt amazing last time. He was sharp, gave you the feel of a really special horse and put a space in them when I asked.”

So, how confident is Jack heading into Saturday night.

“I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t win, as long as he feels like he did in that last trial,” he said.

“He’s better than those horses, even though he’s drawn so badly.

“I’m not sure on tactics yet, but I’d be keen to get him around and into the action, maybe outside the leader, if the tempo drops off a bit after they settle.

“It’s easy to say you can sit back and come with one run given he’s first-up, but sometimes that means you end-up giving the horse a harder run than making an early move … especially if they rip home in 56sec and you’re being pushed four and five deep.”

Lochinvar Art’s return is as important for Kiwis as it is Aussies given the connections have strongly flagged an NZ Cup raid.

The plan is three lead-up runs before the Group 1 Victoria Cup on October 8.

Then Arty is likely to head to NZ early for the Ashburton Flying Stakes and then NZ Cup.

There are 18 days between the NZ Cup and the first round of heats of the Victorian Inter Dominion series.

Winning isn’t everything for Arty on Saturday night, but it certainly give the sport a boost on both sides of the Tasman.

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