Twice as nice for Wiggins
Peter Wiggins is confident Salander can give him a second Canberra Horse Of The Year title after stablemate Turbo Hemi won the esteemed award two seasons ago.
The four-year-old has saluted the judge on three occasions this season, finishing as the runner-up a further four times from her 11 starts.
Wiggins believes a win in next Friday's meeting at Thoroughbred Park will wrap up the award for the Moscow Ballet mare.
“That would be just beautiful. That's an award that's based on consistency and she's been as consistent as any horse,” said Wiggins.
“Turbo Hemi won two-years ago for me. He won five in a row at Canberra. Five starts, five wins.
“Both of them are five or six thousand dollar horses and they've won well over $100,000 between them.”
In what would have shocked many horse racing pundits, Wiggins elected to race Salander over 1280-metres last start following a win over 1750-metres two runs earlier and a second place finish over 1900-metres the start prior.
Salander finished out of the placings, but the Canberra trained said it was necessary to race her there given there were no races in the area that suited the four-year-old.
“It's worked out perfectly for the plan,” Wiggins said. “It was fantastic. I wasn't disappointed one bit.”
“If I didn't give her that run it would have been a month between runs, so I would have had to barrier trial her over 900m.
“Coming from 1900 to 1280 wasn't perfect for her but she did well and she's pulled up fantastic.”
Wiggins will give Salander the opportunity to cement herself at the top of the Canberra Horse Of The Year standings when she tackles a Benchmark 65 Handicap (1750m).
The former jockey said that the experienced Nick Souquet will ride the mare and believes she will be “spot on” for what will be her final race of the season.
“Looking at her rating I don't think she'll need a claim so we'll put a senior rider on her,” said Wiggins.
“That will do for her. Win, lose, or draw she's going to the paddock.
“She needs a break so we'll give her a month to five weeks off - because she's a rising five-year-old and she's fairly lightly raced.
“I'm tipping a midweek city race will be good for her next preparation.
“She'll win in town. It's just a matter of when we take her there.”
With three meetings remaining this season at Canberra, Salander has four gallopers sitting on the same number of wins, albeit with fewer minor placings.
A main rival in the form of Shoot Thru Blu has been sent to the paddock following his last start second at Thoroughbred Park last month.
General Jay Dee, from the leading Keith Dryden stable has yet to hit the heights he did last preparation when he won three races at Canberra from as many attempts, but still looms as a genuine contender.
That leaves the Bernie Howlett-trained Party Dress who won two starts back on the Acton Track when third-up, and the Barbara Joseph and Paul Jones trained Gorgeous Amelia who won last time out at Canberra as Salander's biggest threats.
In unfortunate news from the Wiggins stable, former Canberra Horse Of The Year winner Turbo Hemi bowed his tendon in his last start at Wagga and will be sidelined for at least 12-months.
That concluded a poor campaign for the six-year-old who placed just once on the course proper at Canberra from his 10 starts.
“We've just put him in the paddock, but when they bow a tendon, they may come back and they may not,” Wiggins said.