Ayrton chases a second straight win in the Victoria Handicap

Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr Jnr have called on blinkers in a bid to rejuvenate Ayrton as he chases a second straight win in the Victoria Handicap.

Ayrton was successful first-up in the Group 3 1400m contest last year but will have had the benefit of a run when he heads to Sandown for this year’s contest.

The gelding won five of his first six starts from late 2020 through until early spring in 2021 and was expected to be one of the major players in that year’s Group 1 handicaps.

But a spider bite not long after finishing third at Flemington in September 2021 put Ayton on the sidelines until he was successful in the Victoria Handicap last year.

An indifferent campaign in Brisbane during the winter was followed by a spring campaign that started well, finishing second to Golden Eagle and T J Smith winner I Wish I Win at Sandown, before gradually tapering off.

Ayrton resumed with a fifth placing behind Scallopini in the Group 3 Shaftesbury Avenue Handicap (1400m) at Flemington on March 11, and four weeks later he returns to Sandown.

The one major difference this time is Ayrton will be sporting blinkers.

“We think he’s been a little bit disappointing in trackwork and I’m mindful that the horse had an acute and chronic sickness for a long time,” Price said.

“I need to see him hit the line. I’m not sure how he is going to do that at the moment, so I need to see something from him.

“He’s sound and he’s fit, but we’re just thinking in trackwork he’s not as aggressive to the line as he has been in the past.”

Damien Oliver will have his first ride on Ayrton on Saturday as he attempts to join Jamie Kah, James Mcdonald and John Allen as jockeys to have won aboard the gelding.

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