KEVIN Hanley is hoping tough stayer Arctic Grey can continue his rich vein of form in today’s Adrian Ledger Memorial (2400m).
The five-year-old has won four of his past six starts, including three at Albury.
Hanley said the Al Maher gelding should have made it five from six last start at Moonee Valley.
“He got cleaned up a couple of times, got pushed out and then squeezed up, everything that could go wrong did go wrong,” he said.
“But he was the only one that was finishing off, the only one hitting the line.”
Arctic Grey is a $6 chance in an open race with the John Ledger-trained Justiceforall and Gai Waterhouse’s Sesentum the equal $5 favourites.
Hanley said he would love to win a race named after the late jockey Adrian Ledger.
“I’ve been trying to win this for some time and in the past have had a second and a third,” he said.
“Adrian rode a few winners for me and I was always pretty close to him.
“Johnnie (Ledger and Adrian’s father) had a go at me at the Valley, he said why are you here when you should win that race at Albury next week.”
Hanley has had Arctic Grey for two preparations after previously racing in Queensland.
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He said a change of diet was the key to his improvement in recent months.
“We had to change his diet completely around — he had a problem that we didn’t know about when we bought him but a few blood tests showed it up and by changing his feed he has become a different horse,” he said.
“He won a race for us in his first preparation and has now won four of his past six this time in work.”
Hanley said the step up to 2400 metres wouldn’t be an issue.
“All his wins this time have been at 2000 metres but he is such a relaxed horse he should not have any trouble getting the extra distance,” he said.
“Bradley’s (Vale) job will to keep him on the bit, sometimes he can relax a bit too much.
“He’ll jump out and see whether he goes forward or back, it really doesn’t matter.
“And I don’t think the wet track is likely to bother him — he hasn’t run on it but his breeding suggests it won’t be an issue.”