Asclepius on track for Canberra Cup hopes

A barrier trial with some prize money on offer is how Len Hodgson is approaching Asclepius's return at Canberra on Friday.

Stepping out over 1000m for the first time in his career, Hodgson said he couldn't be happier with his son of Reset as he begins his build up for his second tilt towards the Listed Canberra Cup [2000m].

"We are all pretty happy with him, he's going very well and it does appear a bit of a barrier trial for him," Hodgson said.

"Hopefully they go hard up in front, we've got the blinkers on him just to sharpen him up and he can hit the line well for us."

Proven to have raced in career best form prior to a break with a very credible fourth behind Multilateral at Flemington, Hodgson is confident he couldn't get Asclepius any better for his return.

"I'm pretty confident I've got him back as good as ever, he's big he's fresh and he's ready to go," Hodgson said.

"Obviously he's not a 1000m horse so we can't get too carried away but we would just like to see work home nicely."

At this point Hodgson hopes to head into the Canberra Cup fourth up with a return to metropolitan company expected at his next start.

"He'll go to town in a fortnight's time for a Bm85 race over 1400m and then back to Canberra for the Black Opal preview meeting over the mile and then with all being well he'll press on to the Canberra Cup," Hodgson said.

"Again the owners are aiming high with the Canberra Cup but that will only be his fourth run back from a spell and he can have a few runs after that."

Kevin Sweeney links back aboard the five-year-old on Friday having previously ridden him to victory on three occasions.

"We've put Kevin [Sweeney] back on him, he's a good experienced rider who knows the horse well," Hodgson said.

"He's [Asclepius] a lot more level headed now, poor Kevin [Sweeney] had to weather the storm a bit with him earlier in his career when he used to play up in his races but he's a lot more tractable now.

"He's drawn seven out of seven which is probably what we wanted, he'll get a look at all of them from out there and should just cruise around and hopefully work home well in the straight."

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