Aussie star good to go

Champion pacer Lochinvar Art’s comeback is ahead of schedule.

That’s the word from trainer-driver David Moran heading into his first race in almost a year in the Group 2 Shepparton Gold Cup on Saturday night.

“A couple of weeks ago, I wasn’t sure where he was at, but the two trials have really brought him on. He’s a lot closer to his top than I expected he would be after so long out,” he said.

“That first trial at Melton last week woke him up and he was great at home after it, then I gave him another trial at Shepparton (last Tuesday night).

“He led the trial and won it well. It wasn’t about times because the trial was so close to this race, but he gave me a really good feel. I particularly like how he picked up and wanted to go when Max Delight came at him.”

Lochinvar Art will need to be good to overcome a wide draw (gate seven) and some quality, race-fit opposition at Shepparton.

Tango Tara, who may lead from the pole, and last week’s Bendigo Cup winner Spirit Of St Louis, look two of the main dangers.

“I actually don’t mind the draw. It’s 2650m and he can go back, let them the leaders sort themselves out and then I can come around when it suits,” Moran said.

“I know I’ll almost certainly be outside the leader, but he’s done that many times before.

“I certainly wouldn’t have said this a couple of weeks ago, but, yes, I think he can win. In fact, I think they’ll have to be very good to beat him.

“Of course he will improve on whatever he does, but he’s fit and ready to go. He’ll run a great race.”

In other major Aussie news, champion filly and now four-year-old mare Ladies In Red will not tackle the upcoming NSW Carnival of Miracles.

In a change of heart, owner-breeders Bill and Anne Anderson met with trainers Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin and decided to spell the mare.

“We gave her a long break this time last year and were rewarded for it, so we’re doing the same again,” Bill Anderson said.

“We’ll set her for some big races in the second half of the year, like the Queen of the Pacific, Breeders Crown and Vicbred.”

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