Australia Day: versatile performer off to Spain for latest outing PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Australia Day sent on San Sebastian mission
Preview: Spain, Wednesday
San Sebastian: Copa de Oro, 1m 4f
PAUL WEBBER sends Australia Day to Spain to bid for success in the Copa de Oro at San Sebastian, a 1m4f race included in the French Defi du Galop – a calendar of pattern races aimed to promote regional competition.
Part-owned by Channel 4 presenter Mike Cattermole, Australia Day has been alternating between Flat and jumps for the past five seasons and was last seen on a course when twelfth of sixteen in a Listed hurdle handicap at Market Rasen three weeks ago.
“He likes fast ground and right-handed sharp tracks, and the distance is good,” Webber said on Tuesday. “There was not a single race for him until the end of September, so this looked like an idea. He’ll run better than his rating, but I think we are up against it in this field”.
The main dangers are likely to come from French raiders High Jo and Esles. The first named is trained by Elie Lellouche, winner of this race last year, with Jo All The Way, and the latter is under Chantilly-based trainer Carlos Laffon-Parias, who often targets this race.
Among the home team Entre Copas would be a leading contender given he loves fast ground and has experience of the track at San Sebastian. Trainer Ioannes Osorio, who had the runner-up in 2011 with Abdel, is expecting a bold show from the best horse in Spain last year.
He said: “He’s at a similar level compared to a year ago, but has been quite unlucky in his last races. He’s a born fighter and now that he can handle the track he should go close.”
Silca Blanka was the last British runner to visit the Spanish racetrack, when beaten a head in second to Vicimar in the Gobierno Vasco in 1998.