Trainer still learning about Italian import
DARREN Weir admits he's still unsure of the scope of highly credentialed Italian import Goldstream, favourite for Saturday's feature Birthday Cup at Morphettville.
Goldstream raced against some of the premier middle-distance horses in Europe a couple of seasons ago, winning the Group 2 $1 million Italian Derby (2200m) in 2015 before finishing fourth to Highland Reel in the Group 1 Secretariat (2000m) at Arlington.
The five-year-old gelding arrived in Australia with high expectations but didn't fire a shot in three Sydney runs for Newcastle trainer Kris Lees before being transferred to Weir late last year.
Goldstream has slowly built his form in four runs for the champion Victorian trainer, ending an eight-race losing streak when he led throughout over 2000m at Flemington on January 28.
"The plan wasn't to lead but there didn't look to be a lot of speed in the race so we wanted to to be in the first four, but when he came across and settled you knew he was always going to run well,” Weir said.
"I'm still working him out. He's been a bit of a work in progress and been hard work to be honest.”
Goldstream, a winner of six of his 14 starts and more than $600,000, has been marked the clear-cut $2.60 favourite in UBET fixed-odds markets for the $100,000 Birthday Cup (2000m) on Saturday.
He's expected to settle close to the pace again after drawing perfectly in barrier three, with prolific senior jockey Dean Yendall in the saddle.
The Weir stable has been performing at a peak level at Morphettville recently, notching wins on consecutive Saturdays.
The champion horseman is well-placed to continue that winning momentum on Saturday with three Adelaide runners, all to be ridden by Yendall.
Consistent mare Rising Hope is the $3.50 top elect in the Penang Turf Club Trophy (1600m), while Olivier, a brilliant last-start Morphettville winner, is rated a $2.50 chance in the Timmy G Fringe 2017 Handicap (1200m).