Attwell confident Candlelight Star can bounce back
Albany trainer Des Attwell is confident he can add a Mungrup Stud Sprint title to his name, in similar fashion to his upset triumph in the 2018 Fitzpatrick Plate, as Candlelight Star prepares to tackle Sunday’s rich sprint feature.
A field of 10 is dominated by local runners in the $100,000 Mungrup Stud Sprint (1300m) at Mt Barker Turf Club, held almost two months on from the original date after extreme heat forced the race to be postponed back in January.
Attwell caused a major boilover in the region’s other sprint race, the $100,000 Fitzpatrick Plate, back in 2018 with Long Knife and he remains upbeat the same can happen this Sunday.
Candlelight Star spent time with Roy Rogers and Justin Warwick before a sustained recent stint with leading metropolitan trainer Adam Durrant.
However, the eight-year-old grey is back in the care of Attwell and will be out to improve his previous effort in the Mungrup Stud Sprint, finishing seventh in the 2017 edition.
“I think he will be very competitive, more than most people think,” Attwell said.
“I’ve had plenty of success at Mt Barker. I actually like the track.
“We’ve made some gear adjustment, the earplugs will come off and he is happy and thriving back home.
“I’m training him out of a paddock and I think the race really suits him.
“He didn’t handle the bog the other day and is down in weight so that points in his favour.”
The son of Kendal Star returned to Attwell’s stables recently and ran ninth in soft going at Albany last week, beaten more than six lengths.
Before that the gelding won a Saturday class sprint at Ascot in December last year and has been placed on three other occasions this campaign.
Veteran hoop Colin Haddon jumps aboard the speedy type that has drawn barrier eight and is one of six horses on the minimum 54kg.
The 2019 edition of the race carries plenty of significance, with three former winners going head-to-head.
Rebel King, who won the race in 2017, has been lumped with 62kg as topweight in the race for trainer Darren McAuliffe and red-hot jockey Mitchell Pateman, but is drawn ideally in gate one.
Last year’s winner Red Ora will try to claim back-to-back victories for the Steve Wolfe camp, with Peter Hall picking up the mount.
Veteran galloper Dream Lifter will race for the first time since September when the 2016 victor contests Sunday’s feature for local trainer Paul Hunter.
The blow of barrier 10 will be offset by gaining the services of rider Chris Parnham.
Albany’s Dixie Solly has two runners in the race — Bindaree Lady and Blizzard Express — while progressive type Just Act Natural is also engaged.
Last year’s Hannans Handicap winner Reykjavik looms as one of the main contenders in the race, resuming after a length spell.
The Lindsey Smith-trained gelding won the 2018 Hannans Handicap in Kalgoorlie and will have 54kg on his back with Daniel Staeck in the saddle.
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