Swiss Ace set for big Melbourne sprints
Tuesday, 13 January 2009:
Talented Queensland sprinter Swiss Ace could be a surprise Melbourne visitor for the Group One Lightning Stakes and Newmarket Handicap at Flemington.
Trainer Mick Mair expects to make a decision soon on whether Swiss Ace will start in the Lightning Stakes (1000m) on January 31 and the Newmarket Handicap (1200m) on March 7.
Mair is undecided whether the entire may also contest the Group One Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on February 21.
"I'm not sure about the Oakleigh Plate at this stage. He hasn't raced that way yet and I'm not sure how he'll handle the corners whereas the other two races are down the straight," Mair said.
Swiss Ace won an 1100-metre jumpout on his home track at Caloundra on Tuesday but Mair is unsure when the four-year-old will resume following a long break.
The son of Secret Savings hasn't raced since finishing 15th to Mr Baritone in the Group One Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm last June.
Despite his Stradbroke failure, Swiss Ace emerged from restricted ranks last year to become a major force during the Brisbane winter carnival.
He won three consecutive races, twice at Listed level in the Chief De Beers (1110m) at Doomben last March and Weetwood Handicap (1300m) at Toowoomba in April before his biggest victory in the Group Two Sir Byrne Hart Stakes (1200m) at Eagle Farm in April.
It was his ninth career victory before finishing third to Apache Cat in the Group One BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben on May 10 prior to his Stradbroke defeat.
Mair gave Swiss Ace a lengthy spell to recover from his tough winter campaign and was keen for him to make a comeback at Eagle Farm on Wednesday.
"I didn't accept with him after he got 63 kilos in the Open but he probably deserved it for a midweek race," Mair said.
"I was planning to run him tomorrow but I might take him straight to Melbourne instead.
"If he stays here he might resume on Australia Day at Doomben but in the meantime I'll sleep on it about taking him straight to Melbourne.
"He had a good spell and has come back well and I'd like to take him away.
"He only had six runs last winter but they were all tough runs and he did a good job.
"Apache Cat only beat him one length when he ran third in the BTC Cup."
Apache Cat subsequently won last year's Group One Doomben 10,000 (1350m) in May before returning in the spring and campaigning overseas when third in the Group One Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin last month.
Apache Cat won the Lightning-Australia Stakes double in Melbourne last autumn.