Lochinvar Art is tuned to the minute for the Pryde’s EasiFeed Victoria Cup on October 10 says trainer-driver David Moran, who will now decide whether to propel his stable star straight into the $300,000 feature or step out in this Saturday’s star-studded sprint.
The four-year-old was in a class of his own in a quality TAB Minuteman Free For All, the headliner of a 10-race card as metropolitan racing returned to Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday.
Lochinvar Art comfortably put paid to two highly-rated threats, Cruz Bromac and Zennart, who were both well below their best, before careering away to a 9.3-metre win ahead of Emma Stewart’s fast finishing Tam Major and Out To Play, and impressive Rackemup Tigerpie for Michael Stanley.
“Going into last week he was probably just a little bit underdone for race fitness. He’s been super during the week and he was really good again tonight,” Moran told Trots Vision.
His impressive performance has left the door ajar for the $50,000 TAB Smoken Up Sprint at Melton next Saturday, where he’d likely run into Ride High and potentially the likes of Cash N Flow.
“He probably had the run tonight where he could nearly go around again next week and possibly just have him rock hard for the Vic Cup, but we need to work out whether we really want to have a speed burn next week for the sake of it,” Moran said.
“If you draw bad again, he’s going to have a complete gut buster and you start to think is it necessary? We will sit down and figure out whether we go straight to the Vic Cup with a break or without a break. He’s going to be pretty forward now, good enough anyway.”
Moran rated Lochinvar Art a “50-50 chance” to run next week and a 100 per cent chance to be choc full of confidence.
“Over the past three years we’ve got to know him pretty well and all his little traits,” Moran said. “The harder the runs he gets the better he pulls up, so he’ll be pretty full of himself.
“And then throughout the week he’s a bit similar, he gets very boisterous and can sometimes leave a little bit of tucker.
“He just wants to get on with the job really. He’s happy to work, happy to be there, pretty playful, so that’s what we will mainly be looking for.”
He was certainly happy to get on with the job tonight.
A line of four met the first bend, with Im Sir Blake holding the front and holding out My Kiwi Mate in a 43.3-second lead time, with Craig Cross’s Zennart requiring a lot of urging from reinswoman Kerryn Manning to join the race.
Despite Tayla French’s apparent willingness to cede the lead on Im Sir Blake, Zennart was bogged in the breeze until finally advancing when Cruz Bromac loomed to take the lead, tailed by Lochinvar Art who settled into the death for the final lap.
Lochinvar Art put paid to first-up Cruz Bromac heading into the final turn, gapping all challengers to win comfortably.
“There was probably a little bit more speed early than I thought there would be,” Moran said. “Tends to be some of those races, where there are some horses that are a little bit below the better ones, where you think it’s going to unfold pretty quick and everyone’s going to find a spot.
“It didn’t, there was a bit of speed there early and then we had to chase through from the second row. The field opened up a fair bit and then Herby’s horse (My Kiwi Mate) made a little gait break there into the 1400.
“Kez was left in the breeze and couldn’t find the front and he was a little bit reluctant to go old Zennart. It was a tricky race, but when we went the speed slackened and it was probably the right time to go and he did the rest.”
And team Lochinvar Art marches on with big fish to fry in coming weeks.
“It’s everyone’s dream really, I’m very grateful with the journey he’s taken me on so far,” Moran said. “You dream of driving in those races or training those horses but it comes around very very rarely.”