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Handsome Thief on trial for Melbourne spring sprints

By Glenn Davis

Rejuvenated sprinter Handsome Thief could return to his former home State in Victoria for an assault at the second-tier spring sprints if he runs well in the Tim Bell Memorial Handicap at Doomben on Saturday.

Co-trainer Chris Meagher is weighing up the options for the six-year-old gelding who showed he was back to his best form by winning over 1200 metres at Doomben on July 6.

Handsome Thief’s win that day provided Meagher with his second metropolitan double since he started training two years ago.

Meagher, who trains in partnership with his father John, has a stable of 16 in work at Eagle Farm headquarters and another 14 in work at Mornington in Victoria.

The stable completed the season with 26 wins from 143 starters for an average winning strike rate of 18.2 per cent.

As well as Handsome Thief, Meagher will saddle up last start winner Rich Affair in the Benchmark 85 Handicap (1350m).

Handsome Thief is owned by Paul Fudge’s Waratah Thoroughbreds who have been great supporters of Meagher.

“They’ve been enormous supporters of our stable and they basically have a lot of older horses which they send to us for rejuvenating,” Meagher said.

“Handsome Thief was in the same boat when he first came up to us with a few niggling problems.

“It was great to see him bounce back to his old form but it was a wet track that day and I’d love to see a bit of rain for him on Saturday.

“He wasn’t in a happy place when he first came to me but he is now and if he runs in the first three he could go back to Victoria for some of the second-tier races in the spring.”

Handsome Thief was originally trained in Victoria by Darren Weir before a short summer stint in Sydney where he failed in three runs for trainer John Thompson.

Before his return to form at Doomben last start, Handsome Thief had not won since the Listed Wangoom at Warrnambool in May last year.

He subsequently was a close up seventh to last year’s Stradbroke winner Santa Ana Lane in the Group One Goodwood in Adelaide in 2018.

Meagher is also hopeful Rich Affair can repeat his last start win in 1350-metre Benchmark 70 race at Doomben.

“He’s up in grade but down in weights and his work on the track has been just as good as before his Doomben win,” he said.

Racing Queensland webnews  July 31