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Now an eight-year-old, El Segundo won the Group Two weight-for-age 1600m feature two years ago when he defeated Haradasun in a stirring battle by a nose.
That effort set the Pins gelding up to win the 2007 Cox Plate two races later and Little is hoping that Saturday’s effort will do the same.
“He’s sound and has no issues for a change,” Little said of the injury prone galloper.
Despite being underdone, El Segundo came from last and flashed home late to finish third behind Saturday’s rival Mic Mac in the Aurie’s Star Hcp (1200m) at Flemington before a fair sixth, again behind Mic Mac in the 2009 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield, both last month.
“His first run was very good and his second-up run in the Memsie was so-so,” Little said.
“But sometimes he can be a little disappointing at Caulfield when it rains on the day.”
Apart from El Segundo’s fitness and soundness, the other major reason for Little’s confidence is the return to the horse’s favourite surface, the StrathAyr at Moonee Valley where four of his 12 wins have been.
“No doubt he’s at his best at Moonee Valley,” Little said.
The Caulfield trainer was happy that the MVRC allowed horses other than Singapore star Jolie’s Shinju to gallop at the Valley on Tuesday morning after they were initially told that they weren’t allowed to do so.
Little took El Segundo across town for a workout which turned out to be a solid one.
“I wanted him to do a bit and the track was no good at Caulfield so it worked out well. He had a nice gallop there,” he said.
Nick Hall rode El Segundo in his Moonee Valley work-out but his Cox Plate winning jockey Luke Nolen will ride him on Saturday.
Whobegotyou is the $2.90 favourite with TAB Sportsbet ahead of El Segundo at $3.40, Mic Mac at $3.90, Jolie’s Shinju, who is making her Australian debut, at $7.50 with Sea Battle next best at $15.
Article By mark Ryan Aapracing