Boom sprinter Aethero is no certainty to travel to Dubai next month with trainer John Moore waiting on confirmation from owners Andrea Tien and Arthur Cheng.
The three-year-old returned to the track on Tuesday morning in his first barrier trial since December’s Group One Hong Kong Sprint, where he was a beaten $1.5 favourite, and will race on Sunday week (March 8) in Class One company.
After suffering a fever post-race, Moore said he was building from the ground up again with the star galloper, revealing he did not necessarily need to see the horse win next week to gain a pass mark.
Aethero is a clear $3.75 favourite in the race with overseas fixed-odds bookmakers.
“It was a satisfactory trial, he was definitely in need of it because after that race in December it was like he was in a paddock for a six weeks then brought back,” he said.
“Coming into the race next week, it is a nice lead-in for whatever we run in after that.
“It [the fever] really knocked him around. He went from Griffin races in May to Group One with the best of the best [in December].”
The Class One 1,200m dash will look like a Group-level clash with Big Party a confirmed starter in the race, while John Size is expected to have multiple runners. Thanks Forever will also line up for Moore.
Moore opted to steer clear of last month’s Group One Centenary Sprint Cup (1,200m) with Aethero following his setback.
“If he had been back in Australia, he would have been in a paddock for six weeks anyway, then brought back for pre-training which is what we’ve tried to do here without being in a paddock,” he said.
“I want to go to Dubai, I think he would be very hard to beat in that straight six-furlong race.
“Let’s see how he runs. He doesn’t have to win that race against fit horses next week because maybe John Size is running two or three of his top sprinters.
“We’re bringing him back and he’s going to be on the soft side for that reason, the expectation is not that he is just going to win,” Moore said.
“The expectation is that we have brought him back after a break, first run back, and as long as he runs a good race we will sit down with the owner and talk about Dubai.”
With the Group One Al Quoz Sprint (1,200m) held on March 28, a decision will have to be made soon after next Sunday’s race.