Kalgoorlie trainer Rob O’Brien says preparing a winner will be the best remedy to what has been a difficult week. He is banking on Saxapak fulfilling the obligation in the Golden City Motors Stayers Series Heat (2100m) on Sunday.
O’Brien is out to end the week on a positive note after suffering a setback with stable star Just A Falcon at Belmont.
The promising stayer suffered cardiac arrhythmia and bled from both nostrils when last to Lucciola last Saturday. It rules him out of racing for a mandatory three months and critically a chance of contesting the Kalgoorlie Cup in September.
“It hit me pretty hard and knocked me around,” said O’Brien. “The horse was travelling so well up until the turn. “It was lucky we had a senior jockey on who realised what had happened.
“He has pulled up pretty good and will have six months off. “I’m sure he will come back but it’s still a bitter pill to swallow.”
Saxapak, who has placed in three of seven starts this campaign, faces his first test beyond 1760m.
The son of Saxon is on the quick back-up after finishing 3 ¼ lengths fourth to Ram Jam last week.
The five-year-old was caught wide throughout but did well to fight the race out strongly from eighth position.
“He is only a plugger and needs to get rolling before he hits top gear,” said O’Brien.
“This is his first go at the trip but I think he can handle it as he finishes his races off strongly.
“For a change he has drawn a half decent barrier and is on the 54kg minimum.
“I think he is in with a chance and if he goes well he could be my Kalgoorlie Cup horse.
“I’ve been around for 40 odd years and never had a runner in the race.
“It might look a long shot from here but everybody has to dream.”
Saxapak, drawn in barrier six, will be handled for the first time by apprentice, Chloe Azzopardi.
Helen Harding’s Anywhere Express, last-start winner Dream Theatre and Endless Sacrifice, one of two starters for Peter Fernie, appear to pose the biggest threat to Saxapak.
Former Perth galloper Friarday is also worthy of thought and can improve on recent form when he makes his maiden appearance for David Smith.