Flemington The Best Place For Xian

Jun 04, 2010

Trainer Colin Little is hoping for a dead or better racing surface to give him a true indication as to where his three-year-old filly Xian is at when she contests the $70,000 Geoffrey Levett Handicap (1100m) at Flemington this Saturday.

Xian was an impressive winner on debut at Pakenham in a 1000m Maiden Plate back in February scoring by more than a length from Bambina, who has since won in the city defeating the likes of Beyond Pardon and Perminsky.

However Xian failed to impress when resuming at Moe just three weeks ago in a 0-68 rating handicap (1000m) finishing second last and almost 20 lengths from the winner.

Little wasn't too deflated by the performance citing a bottomless track as the likely cause and confident the filly will improve when she steps out on Saturday.

"It was unlike any other heavy track here in Australia," said Little at track-work this morning.

"They went in about 9 inches at Moe and she had her ears laid flat against her back, going nowhere, on the home turn."

Little conceded it was about time he and the owner tasted success again and believed the better track conditions would give him a fair assessment as to where the daughter of Cape Cross is at.

"We are looking for a better track to get a guide as to where she is at," said Little.

"She is owned by Chairman of the VRC Mr Rod Fitzroy who has been a lifetime supporter of the stable and it is about time we had another good horse together"

"Many years ago I trained a horse for Rod called Testimony who won thirteen something races in town and we have been looking for another since," Little added.

Notwithstanding the debut win Little highlighted that a number of small setbacks had impacted the fillies short career, including a tendency to tie up after gallops.

"She won on debut, but that seems like a long time ago now," Little said.

"Since then we have had our hands full with general filly problems including a lot of tying up."

Xian will jump from barrier six in the sixteen horse field with jockey Ben Melham in the saddle.

The term 'tying up' refers to a condition similar to cramping in humans where the horse will show a stiff, uncomfortable stride and a reluctance to move following a work out. It is often more pronounced in younger horses with highly strung personalities, which conversely present a number of other issues to trainers.