Like most owners, Australian Bloodstock director Jamie Lovett tries not to get ahead of himself, but even so, he admits keeping the lid on Kettle Hill might be difficult after this weekend.
The spring’s Melbourne Cup-winning owners have already struck some further gold post-carnival in the form of three-time winner Nugget and now fellow import Kettle Hill could join him on the winner’s list and in many punters’ black books as early as this Saturday.
A decision is to come on where Kettle Hill runs on Saturday as he has accepted for the 1600-metre BM84 at The Valley and also at Randwick in a 1600m BM78.
Kettle Hill’s luckless Australian debut run at Sandown earlier this month was difficult to miss and with him rising to a more suitable 1600m on Saturday, it is expected the import could stake claims for higher honours in 2023.
Lovett certainly thinks so.
“He’s got a fairly low mark (domestic rating of 75) but he’s one that we always thought would be a good horse and get through to stakes company and win a few races,” he said.
“There are no grand plans with him as yet. He’s probably not going to see the better races in the autumn unless he goes bang and wins a few and we can sneak him into stakes race down the line.
“He probably should have won at Sandown. We got trapped back inside and if he had gotten to the outside, it would have been a different story.”
Kettle Hill is by Gleneagles and his form in the UK, while not tested in stakes grade, was encouraging, especially at Saturday’s trip of 1600m.
Also set to race in the same colours at the weekend over 1700m at Flemington on Sunday is another Gleneagles import Glentaneous, who Lovett says is a run or two away from his peak but is showing signs of being a class stayer.
“He’s going to take another run or two,” Lovett said of the gelding who did not figure first-up at Sandown over 1800m for new trainers Anthony and Sam Freedman.
“He’s come off a long break and he had a little set-back, but he’s very sound now.
“The other day was a pass mark and he’s going to need another one and then we can get him up in distance range.
“I like him. He’s a real stayer. He’s better than an off-season horse, so hopefully by the time the spring comes around again he’ll be ready to put in a challenge.”
Lovett said Nugget was in great order after stringing three wins together and confirmed connections are now aiming at securing an All-Star Mile spot for the March 18 race.
He said Melbourne Cup winner Gold Trip had also impressed in his return from the spelling paddock, but no firm plans had been set for his autumn campaign.
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