Grey Lion Roaring Towards Cup Assignment

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At nine, Grey Lion has entered the veteran bracket but trainer Matt Smith says the stayer is showing no signs of slowing down.

If anything, Smith feels the gelding is in the best shape of his career as he prepares to take on a talented field in the Group Three Premier’s Cup (1900m) at Rosehill on Saturday.

Last year’s Group Three JRA Plate winner, Grey Lion has three campaign runs under his belt and showed he was warming towards another win with a last-start third to Saturday’s rival Taikomochi at Randwick.

“He’s got that foundation in him now. I do feel he is back to as good as we’ve had him,” Smith said.

“He’s in really good shape, his work has been great, he looks good. I don’t see why he won’t run really well on Saturday.”

Grey Lion has been a reliable campaigner since he came to Australia from France four years ago.

Three of his seven wins have been over 2000 metres but he has won up to 2500 metres.

Smith will keep the horse in Sydney in the short-term but says a number of Melbourne options are on the table.

“We’ve put him in the Caulfield Cup,” Smith said.

“We will keep him in the carnival here and see how well he has come back and what he does.”

Smith is also looking forward to the return of progressive mare Nimalee in Saturday’s Everest Carnival On Sale Handicap (1500m).

She did a tremendous job at her initial campaign to win four of her six starts, culminating in back-to-back metropolitan victories in March.

“You’re not going to see the best of her until she gets to 2000 and beyond so we’re just going to start her on Saturday and get a run under her belt,” Smith said.

“We gave her a couple of trials and her work has been pretty good.

“Whatever she does she will improve on. She is a nice mare.”

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