Hedged along path to Sunlight Classic claims

With three wins in six starts plus a minor placing on debut, three-year-old Hedged has done just about everything asked of him by co-trainers Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr.

The last start track and distance winner takes on his biggest challenge to-date in the $500,000 Listed Sunlight Classic (1100m) at Flemington on Saturday.

The gelding by Capitalist, rated a $7 chance, has been a successful purchase by the stable who paid $140,000 for him at the 2022 Magic Millions Yearling Sale with his prizemoney having exceeded that mark by at least half.

Key to his chances, Kent Jnr says, is the form around stablemate Gumdrops who after winning Group 3 Don Casboult Classic (1200m) at Moonee Valley last Saturday is now being aimed at Group 1 success in Adelaide.

“The horse is going really well and the draw (barrier 11) is good, too,” Kent Jnr said.

“He’s found a very strong race and it always going to be a race where it is positioned on the calendar.

“These nice three-year-olds can then aim up to the Arrowfield Sprint (Group 2, 1200m at Randwick).

“Last year you had two group one horses in What You Need and Benedetta fight it out.”

What You Need was one of three winners of this race for the stable in past the six editions.

Kent Jnr, however, admits that $3.10 race favourite Estriella will be hard to beat after that filly’s impressive front-running win at Flemington over 1200-metres but takes some confidence from Hedged’s performances around Gumdrops.

“Three weeks between runs suits and Celine Gaudray rides with Jamie Kah away,” he added.

“Celine is a rider that will suit him and we were keen to engage her.”

Twelve months on, What You Need returns to racing for the first time since that Sunlight Classic win as the $3.20 favourite in the Listed Bob Hoysted Handicap (1000m) with top betting apps.

“He’s had his wind issues but he is a group one horse in the making,” Kent Jnr commented.”He can run splits that we haven’t seen before at Cranbourne (stable) since we have been there.

“We’ve done everything right by him with two jump outs but he is a race day horse so we’re hoping that he lights up under race day pressure, but we couldn’t be confident on Saturday given what he has been through.”

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