Robert Britton admits Here’s Tears has struck a harder race than he expected on Saturday night at Wentworth Park as the gun stayer tunes up for the Group 3 Sydney Cup (720m) heats one week later.
The city qualifying round of the Million Dollar Chase will headline the meeting but Here’s Tears and kennelmate Blazing Cartier will contest an ultra-competitive opening race.
Here’s Tears, fifth to champion older brother Tornado Tears in the Group 3 Top Cat Video Cup Final last Saturday, is TAB’s $2.80 favourite from box five, while Blazing Cartier is a $15 outsider.
Britton’s duo will be tackling in-form local El Rapido ($2.90), much-hyped Good Juan ($4.60) and Group 1 winner Just Terms ($4.80).
“I probably didn’t expect it to be such a good field. It’s like a final,” said master staying conditioner Britton.
“The key to Here’s Tears is that he has to get up there quickly so hopefully he can get out and have a good look around the track to get him ready for the Sydney Cup heats. If he’s going to miss the start I’d rather it be this week.”
It will be Here’s Tears first start at Wentworth Park since making his debut there in June 2019, with Britton conceding he hasn’t met expectations since breaking the Sandown 715m record and winning the Group 1 Super Stayers at the start of the year.
“He has been a little bit disappointing; I just can’t put my finger on the reason why,” Britton said.
“But in saying that, I’ve been happy with his form over the last 6-8 weeks. He’s just not running those explosive times he was.”
Here’s Tears is likely to be joined in the Sydney Cup heats by the great Tornado Tears, which turned back the clock when winning the Top Cat Video Cup for the second time, having also won the race back in 2018.
“It wasn’t really a surprise,” Britton offered.
“He hasn’t been racing a lot because there haven’t been a lot of races for him, especially with not being able to travel. But in the races he has had over the last couple of months I thought he’s been good without winning.
“He won’t take an inside run these days but the other night he had a couple of wide runners in front of him and gee, it made a difference.
“People have been saying he should have retired but there’s nothing wrong with the dog and if he can get some continuity in his racing – three or four runs in a row – I think there’s a fair bit of improvement in him too.”
Britton’s Wentworth Park representation is rounded out by Arizona Eyes, which is a $5.50 chance from box two in the last of eight Million Dollar Chase qualifiers, where fellow Victorian Christo Bale is $3.40 favourite.
“It’s really a throw at the stumps,” said Britton.
“He’s certainly got the ability but he’s a shocking box dog. It sounds a bit silly but I would prefer him drawn out wide too.”