Talented three-year-old Chix Pic is poised to make his presence felt on his return to racing in the Free Entry To Belmont Park Handicap (1000m) on Saturday, according to trainer David Harrison.
The gelding hasn’t raced since he finished third to Samizdat in the Magic Millions 3YO Trophy (1200m) at Pinjarra in February.
He produced an encouraging trial performance over 950m at Lark Hill behind Gatting earlier this month.
Harrison said he was looking forward to seeing Chix Pic, already a Listed race winner, take on the older horses and felt he could certainly match them.
“It’s a bit stronger company for him now he’s up in the weights,” he told TABradio.
“It will be interesting to see how he goes.
“You’d hope he’d be at least run in the first three.
“He’s obviously not going to get to the front, The Nicconian and Captain Stirling will probably lead him.
“It looks like he will lob one out one back.
“Hopefully he’ll get a chance to run them down.”
Chix Pic has drawn barrier four for the short-course event, which has attracted a strong field.
Stageman heads up the TABtouch market at $3.60, while Chix Pic ($4.80), Market Ruler ($6), Undisclosed ($6.50) and Don’t Fuss ($8.50) are all in single figures.
Comeback jockey Paul Harvey replaces Joseph Azzopardi aboard Chix Pic, with Azzopardi in the middle of a riding stint in Singapore.
Harrison said the Lark Hill trial showed the son of Patronize still had to fine tune his racing demeanour.
“He laid in a little,” he said.
“He’s done that a couple of times in his races now.
“Why he’s doing that, I don’t know.
“But the trial was really good, to run close up behind Gatting was a good effort.”
Harrison also had Cryptic Love run in the Magic Millions 3YO Trophy in February, where she ran a meritorious fourth.
She also makes her return on Saturday in the Joseph O’Dea 60th Birthday Handicap (1200m), where she’s rated a $7.50 chance with TABtouch.
Flirtini is a commanding favourite in the race at $1.45.
Harrison said he expected Cryptic Love to find the 1200m too short, but was pleased with how she trialled.
The Ascot meeting gets underway at 12.09 on Saturday afternoon.