Tasmanian raider Tshahitsi returns to Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne first-up on New Year’s Day looking to continue his successful association at the famous track in the Group 3 $150,000 Standish Handicap (1200m).


Flemington stakes winner Tshahitsi will be tested down the straight six first-up in the 2018 Standish Handicap on New Year’s Day. Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos.

A final field of 13 sprinters is engaged for this summer’s Standish Handicap on January 1 including the Chris Crook & Imogen Miller-trained Tshahitsi from Campania in Tasmania’s Coal River Valley.

The Clangalang six-year-old has had four previous Flemington runs for a smart record of two wins and a third achieved during the winter.

His latest run was back on July 8 at the track when saluting from barrier 12 of 12 in the Listed $150,000 Winter Championship Final (1600m).

Tshahitsi has another wide alley first-up on Monday drawn out in gate 11 with Brendon McCoull to pick-up associations with the versatile galloper who looks a genuine danger in his resuming run.

The galloper may have shown an affinity for Flemington, but co-trainer Miller remains wary about how Tshahitsi will handle the iconic ‘Straight Six’ not having run over less than 1400m at the course before.

“I’ve got no idea really [about how he will go down the 1200m straight] but I do know he’s come back a stronger horse and we had to kick-off somewhere so we thought we’d have a throw at the stumps and see how we go,” Miller told Racing Victoria.

“He’s obviously bred to be a bit of a slow maturer and he’s shown that as he’s gotten better every campaign so we’re expecting the same this time around.

“I think he’s come up pretty well. He hasn’t had a trial or anything so he’ll probably improve on whatever he does I’m sure, but definitely happy with the way he’s come back and he’ll be fit enough for the 1200 (metres).”

All going well, the progressive Tshahitsi could be back in Melbourne over the autumn targeting some tougher Group race assignments over the coming months.

“He’ll have a couple of runs there and just see how he’s going,” Miller said.

“There are a few options. We’re open to everything really as his best is probably in front of him.”

Tshahitsi is allocated the equal 59kg top weight for the Standish Handicap along with the Robbie Laing-trained Lord Of The Sky.

Cranbourne trainer Laing will also saddle-up his European import Double Bluff (54kg) from gate six, the resuming stayer best known for his Group 2 $400,000 Adelaide Cup (3200m) second over the two miles at a blowout price back in March.