EGLINTON trainer Nathan Hurst is hoping for an early Christmas present when he takes stable star Saloon Passage to Bankstown this Friday for the Group 2 Treuer Memorial (2,540 metres).
Saloon Passage will be aiming to finish one spot better than his result in last year’s $50,000 classic but he’ll need a bit of luck to make that happen.
The draw wasn’t kind to the seven-year-old gelding who will have to go out from three wide on the second row.
“We looked at this race and thought it was a good one for him. The main reason we entered was to try and get the good barrier, which he didn’t, so he’ll probably need a little luck from there,” Hurst said.
“It’s a very even field and a very good field of free-for-all-ers.
“He got around really well last year so we know that won’t be a worry for him.”
The field is stacked with plenty of talent for Hurst to try and overcome.
On his outside will be Tasmanian star Pachacuti while Young Cup winner Spare Me Days also starts from the back row.
The front line contains a host of veteran champions such as Blazin N Cullen, Condagen and My General Lee.
Saloon Passage travels to Bankstown fresh from a gritty second place run at home behind another tough veteran, Double Event.
Prior to that Saloon Passage trialled beautifully in a 1:57.0 mile rate win.
Hurst said it’s great to see his Elsu x Rosesrredviletsrblue gelding looking fit.
“He’s never had a heap of racing – he’s only got around 80 starts – and hopefully he has great season. We’ll see how he goes at the end of it,” he said.
“He got quite sick last preparation and we gave him a spell. He’d picked up a bug so we took him to Central West Equine in Orange and they did a great job taking care of him.
“He’s made close to $250,000 now and we’ve never had another horse come close to that, so he’s done a lot for us. Now he’s back looking great and you’d never have known that he was sick.”
Saloon Passage finished second in last year’s memorial behind Amanda Turnbull’s Tact Tate.
Ashlee Grives’ gelding Lochinver is on standby as the race emergency.