Vespa at the top of his game Mon, 03 Aug 2015
Otaki trainer Johno Benner believes his stable star is now the finished article.
No longer is Vespa a work in progress, with the four-year-old confidently forecast to be at the peak of his powers this spring.
“He’s fully furnished, he’s grown a bit and he’s strengthened even more,” Benner said. “He looks like the complete racehorse now.”
Not that Vespa has ever been a disappointment through his development stages as he was a champion two-year-old following wins in the Gr. 1 Diamond Stakes and the Listed Karaka Million.
Last season he claimed the Gr. 2 Wellington Guineas and the Listed Flying Handicap before he went under by the barest of margins to Pondarosa Miss in the Gr. 1 Easter Handicap at his last appearance.
Vespa is making all the right moves for Benner ahead of his resuming run in the Gr. 1 Makfi Challenge Stakes at Hastings on August 29 for which he is currently the early $6 second favourite behind Kawi and Volkstok’n’barrell, who are at $5.
“He’s had an exhibition gallop between races here at Otaki and he’ll trial on the 11th at Foxton and then he’ll be ready first-up for the Makfi,” Benner said.
Vespa also holds Group One nominations for the last two legs of the Triple Crown series at Hastings, the Windsor Park Plate and the Livamol Classic, but Benner is making no firm plans.
“We’ll get the Makfi out of the way first,” he said. “There’s a few options, including Melbourne.”
With Vespa’s regular rider Mark Du Plessis sidelined following shoulder surgery in the autumn, Vespa will require a new jockey for his spring campaign.
“He’ll be out until Christmas and we haven’t made any decision as yet about a rider,” Benner said.