Athlone Caste out to hand Sheridan an Easter gift

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
Athlone Castle scored his maiden win in April last year.
Camera IconAthlone Castle scored his maiden win in April last year. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

Talented galloper Athlone Castle will aim to make it back-to-back wins when he competes at Easter Sunday’s meeting at Percy Spencer Racecourse, a fortnight on from his eye-catching return to racing.

Trained locally by Maurice Sheridan, Athlone Castle broke his maiden status in April last year and had two more runs before being spelled.

The six-year-old gelding had a setback when spelling, firstly with a severe off-side back leg injury, and then an attack of ulcers that further delayed his return.

Athlone Castle had 47 weeks in the paddock but returned with a sizzling first-up run at Mt Barker on April 6, carrying 60kg to win by a length as he clocked a final 600m time of 33.84sec.

The lightly raced galloper will contest the BP Roadhouse Williams Handicap (1050m), which has attracted a field of 11 runners, including last-start winners Ibiza and Willow River.

“We’ve had a fair bit of trouble with him,” Sheridan said.

“After having 47 weeks off, you could say I was pretty pleased (with his win).

“It looks like he has some ability.

“To get home in under 34 (sec.) the other day after that long off, you must have some future.

“I expect him to put in a good run and (Peter) Hall rang up for the ride, which is a good sign.”

Hall will be aboard Athlone Castle, who will lump 60kg and jump from barrier 10.

Sheridan, who has always had an interest in training horses, is part of a breeding partnership with Brian Fuller.

They have four mares in foal this year and now he is retired, Sheridan said he was getting more “dinkum” about training with seven horses under his care.

Albany’s Easter Sunday meeting usually holds the Albany Cup.

However, this season the Albany Cup has already been run so it will be a regular seven-race card this weekend, starting at 1pm.

At Ascot on Saturday, Mt Barker Cup winner Gauged will contest a metropolitan 64+ handicap over 2150m for Albany trainer Steve Wolfe.

Recent Mt Barker winner Run Liam Run will also return to the city ranks for trainer Lyn Kiddle when they compete in the Glenroy Chaff Handicap (1500m).

After a short freshen-up, the Roy Rogers-trained Captain Stirling will return over 1000m with Daniel Staeck in the saddle.

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