Viking Warrior at Geelong (Image: Racing Photos)
A tilt at the $1.5 million Blue Diamond Stakes is on the line for well-bred colt Viking Warrior when he lines up as favourite in Saturday's two-year-old event over 1200 metres at Flemington.
The Fastnet Rock colt out of Scandinavia, the grand dam of Black Caviar, won convincingly by 3.25L on debut at Geelong, and the form has been franked since with runner-up Maozi winning at her next start.
Lindsay Park co-trainer Ben Hayes says the stable expects the juvenile to run nicely on Saturday, having come through well from his dominant debut victory.
"Really well, he's really come through nicely, he's eaten up, he's doing everything right and he looks like he's trained on," said Hayes, who trains in partnership with his father David and cousin Tom Dabernig.
"He's done everything right to date, all we can ask is for him to keep improving going through the grades and he'll tell us what time.
"But at home he has good ability and it's just I suppose the first time down the straight, that's probably the only question mark.
"His work at the farm has been excellent and first time down the straight you never know but I suggest he's come on and will run well."
Viking Warrior has been impressing in his work at home but Hayes confirmed he'll need to run well on Saturday to be guaranteed progression to the feature two-year-old races.
"At this stage he's definitely up there in the nicer bunch of two-year-olds we have, if he wins we'll definitely be targeting the big races with him," Hayes added.
"I hope he's pretty good, because he'll be very, very valuable if he is.
"With a pedigree like that and it looks like he's trained on, he is up in grade but we'll see, time will tell."
Hayes also previewed Lindsay Park's other key Flemington runners:
Five Kingdom: "I think he can (win back to back races), we've got Michael Poy on again and gets in well with the claim, he's drawn 10 but the way he races, the field looks a little bit stronger but he gets in well.
"We know he runs out a good 1800m and he definitely doesn't look like he's trained off or anything, so I'm expecting him to run well again."
Prairie Fire: "We've done a couple of gear changes with him to try and help him settle and we're hoping in the country environment he settles in it.
"His last couple of starts his form isn't that good but hopefully the change of scenery often that can wake them up a bit, so we're hoping for an improved run, but if you looked at is past couple of runs you wouldn't get too excited."
The stable also has a number of horses over in Dubai at the moment including Muraaqeb, who will run in the Azizi Mina Handicap at Meydan on Friday morning Australian time.
Hayes was in Dubai recently and said that while the son of Snitzel hadn't travelled over well he has had time to settle in and should perform.
"I hope he can, he's been there since December 24th so he's had plenty of time to acclimatise, I think that's been a benefit of him," he said.
"To be honest, Muraaqeb probably didn't travel the best but he's had the longest time to settle in so I think it's how they travel.
"He looks fantastic, he looks great in the skin.
"I was over there last week and I was really happy with his work leading into the race.
"I was talking to Justin this morning and he was telling me his 14s on the Tuesday were really good.
"He's drawn a sticky gate in 10 so I'm not sure where he's going to settle in the race but I'm sure he'll run well."