The Declaration of War gelding finished unplaced in his first-up Australian run in the Gr.3 Fred Best Classic (1400m) last month and while trainer Lauren Brenan said his run was disappointing on face value, it proved to be a lot more pleasing upon review.
“Initially we were disappointed with the run, but then looking back on the replay he did a lot of work to get to the front, he was three-wide without cover for the whole race and was beaten by four and a half lengths,” she said.
“When you look at it like that, he actually stuck on quite well and didn’t run a bad race, he was just a victim of circumstance.”
Prior to his Australian campaign, Vigor Winner won three of his four starts in New Zealand, including the Gr.3 Cambridge Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) in April, and finished runner-up in the Gr.2 Wellington Guineas (1400m).
Brennan said he has settled in well in Queensland and is hoping he can reproduce some of his New Zealand form on Saturday.
“He is really enjoying his time over here and we are happy with his progress since the Fred Best a couple of weeks ago,” she said.
“We have just cantered him into the race this week. We have previously designed his racing with five to six weeks between races, so this is his first back-up.
“It’s two weeks since his last run, so we have just been ticking him over and keeping him happy.
“I am hoping he will go a really good race. It’s his first time going a mile and I think the mile will suit him a lot more than the sprint distances that he has been running in.”
Vigor Winner will jump from barrier three and Brennan is hoping jockey Corey Brown can find some early cover from that gate.
“We will leave it up to Corey, he will know what to do,” she said. “The other week the rail was the place to be, I think they have pulled it out two metres this week, so I’m sure he will use the barrier draw and get a nice position without doing too much work.”
Saturday is likely to be Vigor Winner’s grand final this season and Brennan said he will head for a spell in preparation for spring racing.
“This will probably be his last assignment. He’s due for a holiday, so he will have a break after this and hopefully get ready for the spring at home.”