Vonusti’s Group One countdown begins

Cambridge sprinter Vonusti (pictured)  is back on the Group One trail, one which led him to a brilliant win in the 2010 Telegraph Handicap at Trentham.

Trainers Tim and Margaret Carter are eyeing up the Group I Railway Handicap at Ellerslie this season with Vonusti and plan to space his races between times. The first-up assignment is the Group III Traderacks Stakes (1400m) at Hastings on Saturday.

“He’ll kick off in this one then get ready for the Concorde and the Railway,” said Tim Carter. “We toyed with the idea of slipping across to Australia, but it’s too much of a risk until you know he’s come up all right.”

Vonusti was third in last year’s Concorde at Ellerslie and ninth in the Railway before a gallant fourth in the Telegraph Handicap. Later in the season he was tried at 1600 metres, but in his last two runs he failed to threaten.

“I mucked it up by running him in those 1600-metre races at the end,” said Carter. “I’m not going to make the same mistake this season.”

Vonusti hasn’t raced since his unplaced run in the Group I Easter Handicap at Ellerslie last April, but has had two recent trials to prepare him for Saturday’s race.

“He’s had two nice trials and his work has been good,” said Carter. “I’ll be disappointed if he’s not in the first three on Saturday. I know it’s a risk over 1400 metres first-up, but I’ve always felt that was his best distance.”

Vonusti is one of three strong chances for the Cambridge centre in the Traderacks Stakes, the other local hopes being Twilight Savings and He’s Remarkable.

Twilight Savings, from Murray Baker’s stable, won fresh-up and was a good third last time, while the Roger James-trained He’s Remarkable was impressive first-up at Ruakaka.