Highland Blaze ready for VRC St Leger at Sandown

Country trainer Jackson Pallot fears for his liver should Highland Blaze win the rescheduled Listed VRC St Leger at Sandown.

The Bairnsdale-based horseman has a previous engagement and will not be in attendance when Highland Blaze contests the 3000m race on Saturday.

Pallot will be on a ‘party bus’ touring East Gippsland when the St Leger is run celebrating the retirement of his parents who are third generation jewellers based in Bairnsdale.

The St Leger was due to be run last Tuesday over 2800m at Flemington but following the death of Dean Holland in a race fall at Donald on Monday, Victorian meetings the following day were called off.

“I was never intending to be racing this Saturday, but with the transfer it has thrown that out, but I can’t get out of what’s going on,” Pallot said.

“My parents are third generation jewellers in Bairnsdale. It would have been a 100-year business next year, but they pulled-up stumps at 99 years and last Saturday was their last day.

“One of my clients runs a party bus, so we’re having the party of on a 50-seater bus and driving around different places to celebrate their retirement.

“I’ll be praying for my liver, especially if the horse runs OK.”

Highland Blaze has won only one of his 11 starts, a maiden at Sale, but ran in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington last spring, finishing 14th to Manzoice.

Pallot pointed out Highland Blaze did not get the best ride that day but stuck out the trip.

“His last 600 metres was slow, but then his last 200 metres was seventh best in the race,” Pallot said.

“He doesn’t go any faster, so if anything has a bit of class, they have another gear whereas he just goes at the same speed all day.”

Pallot said the transfer of the St Leger to Sandown and the extra 200m will be beneficial to Highland Blaze who will instruct Carleen Hefel to try and obtain cover in the run.

“We’ve probably been a bit too aggressive on him,” Pallot said.

“He’s a big, slow, plodding sort of stayer that with the extra 200 metres and the venue change, it will help him and to be honest he is probably our Jericho Cup horse for the next number of years.

“He just wants another lap, that’s what he’s showing in his races.

“He will run the trip, it’s just whether he can run it quicker than the others, that’s the issue.”

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