Trainer John Sargent is expecting a return to form from talented galloper Brandenburg (NZ) (Burgundy), who lines up in the Gr.3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) at Randwick.
Brandenburg was among some high-profile stars that fell victim to a scorching tempo in the Winx Stakes first-up last month but after a subsequent trial and some pleasing trackwork, Sargent is confident the stakes-winning four-year-old can bounce back to his best.
“He came through the Winx well. It just didn’t work out,” Sargent said.
“All the horses that went forward dropped out but several have turned that form around quickly.”
Group One performers Dreamforce and Kolding finished down the track in the Winx but have since run one-two in the Tramway Stakes.
The Winx has also produced subsequent Makybe Diva Stakes winner Fierce Impact, who along with Brandenburg races under the Seymour Bloodstock banner.
“We expect some real improvement from Brandenburg tomorrow,” Sargent said.
“We couldn’t be happier with the way he has picked up in his work. He looks like he is back to peak fitness.”
Champion jockey Nash Rawiller, who rode Brandenburg in a recent trial, has been engaged for Saturday’s feature and Sargent anticipates the horse settling just behind the speed from the inside alley.
The Bill Ritchie Handicap is named in honour of the NSW owner-breeder who made his fortune selling women’s shoes and recent winners include Boban, Comin’ Through and last year’s victor Kolding, who went on to annex the Epsom Handicap and Golden Eagle.
Connections are aiming Brandenburg at the $7.5 million Golden Eagle at Rosehill on October 31, via either the Epsom or Silver Eagle.
Brandenburg is the best-performed son of deceased New Zealand sire Burgundy whose family includes Melbourne Cup winner Ethereal and Darci Brahma.
He is also a half-brother to Sargent’s stakes winner Luvaluva, who retired early in the year after suffering a career-ending injury and is in foal to Lonhro.
The Bill Ritchie initially attracted a field of 13 acceptors but Quackerjack, The Candy Man and Chief Ironside will come out after running in the Cameron Handicap at Newcastle on Friday.