Trainer David Harrison admits that progressive sprinter Settle Strada could be vulnerable when he resumes in today's Crown Perth Sprint (1100m) at Ascot.
Harrison, who flies to the Gold Coast tonight ahead of next week's Magic Millions Yearling Sale, believes Settle Strada might be one gallop short for his first-up assault.
The Strada four-year-old was a winter revelation at Belmont Park last year, using his dazzling early speed to lead all the way in four straight victories.
Harrison has him on trial for features, including the Cyril Flower Stakes (1200m) at Ascot on February 23, Bunbury Stakes (1400m) on March 10 and Pinjarra Classic (1300m) on March 20.
The Serpentine horseman opted to start Settle Strada instead of giving him a trial when the field fell away to eight runners.
But apprentice Renee Forrest won't ride Settle Strada and stablemate Return To Rio after suffering a suspected fractured left leg at Esperance yesterday. Forrest was taken to Esperance Hospital after Oxford Circus landed on her after rearing and dislodging her in the mounting yard before race one.
Apprentice Joseph Azzopardi has picked up the rides on Harrison's duo.
"He's working OK, but he might lack that one gallop," Harrison said of Settle Strada.
"He'll still give them something to chase for a long way and there's no reason why he can't hang on.
"He's coming back in class, but it might be two weeks early for him."
Player quoted Settle Strada a warm $2.80 favourite. Harrison is confident Pininci ($5.50), a last-start winner over 1000m at Ascot, can also figure prominently.
Return To Rio is the $2.90 favourite for today's playeronline.com. au Handicap (1000m).
The five-year-old ran third to Beach Express at Ascot in November and beat Tudor Lad in a trial at Lark Hill last month. "Last time I thought Glen Boss held him up too much so we're just going to let him run," Harrison said.
Meanwhile, co-trainer Peter Giadresco is confident Full Reign, a luckless third to Last Curtain last Saturday, can bounce back in the 40 Year Membership Sean O'Sullivan Handicap (1800m).
"He was a certainty beaten last week," Giadresco said.
"He does take a bit to wind up and needs to get going at about the 600m. The horse is going really well."
·Blood tests have revealed Full Steam Ahead, who ran last as a $1.70 favourite at Ascot on Tuesday, has a viral infection.
He will be treated and trainer Noel Pateman hopes to continue with his preparation.
"He's coming back in class, but it might be two weeks early for him.""Settle Strada's trainer *David Harrison *