Two campaign defeats have not lessened Richard Litt’s faith in Castelvecchio and he remains adamant the colt is thriving ahead of the Group One Rosehill Guineas.
Runner-up to Japanese champion Lys Graciuex in the Cox Plate last year, the three-year-old is under the microscope this autumn.
He finished out of the placings first-up in the Hobartville Stakes (1400m) and midfield in a muddling Randwick Guineas (1600m) when he had a tough passage from a wide draw.
Litt is forgiving of both performances and says with even luck and a distance rise to 2000 metres, Castelvecchio can bounce back.
“I think the horse is going very, very well. He is going as good as he can be and he’s going as good as last preparation,” Litt said.
“He just hasn’t had the right circumstances and when you’re running in Group Ones against top-class horses, you can’t afford things to go against you because you just won’t win. It doesn’t matter how good you are.
“I’m looking forward to getting him out there and stepping him up to a more suitable distance.”
Castelvecchio’s form is modelling similar to the spring when he was twice unplaced in shorter races but stepped up to run second to Shadow Hero in the Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) before the Cox Plate (2040m).
He will be reunited with Cox Plate jockey Craig Williams on Saturday with the Victorian-based hoop making a special trip to Sydney earlier this week to partner Castelvecchio in a trackwork gallop.
While luck did not favour the horse last start, he has taken benefit from the run and has a much kinder draw in five.
“He had a tough run and unfortunately it took its toll a little bit late,” Litt said.
“But he took good fitness out of that. He’s had a couple of nice gallops. Craig came on Tuesday to gallop him and he was extremely happy with how he galloped. Everything is falling into place nicely.
“I think the main thing for him is to get him to a suitable distance that we know he is so brilliant at.”
A field of 13 will line up in the Rosehill Guineas, including Randwick Guineas winner Shadow Hero, Victoria Derby hero Warning and Kiwi raiders Sherwood Forest and Scorpz, first and third respectively in the New Zealand Derby.
Litt welcomes the competition, respectful of them all but in fear of none.
“I never shy away from competition, it’s wonderful,” Litt said.
“You can never write off the Kiwis and look, Shadow Hero hasn’t put a foot wrong. He is the horse of the moment at the moment.
“You’ve got Warning who ran wonderfully in the Randwick Guineas. They’re all going to be extremely competitive and that’s what makes it so great.
“It’s not straightforward but we know we’ve got the right horse to win a race like this so we’re looking forward to it.”