Owen Burrows is considering reverting Gimcrack Stakes winner Minzaal back to five furlongs for the first time in his career at Nottingham next month to help “blow away the cobwebs” ahead of a potential outing in the Group One Betfair Sprint Cup at Haydock Park (Saturday September 4).
The Lambourn handler has earmarked the British Stallion Studs EBF Conditions Stakes at the Colwick Park track on August 10, along with the Group Three Phoenix Sprint Stakes at the Curragh over six furlongs on August 8, as potential starting points for the Mehmas colt.
Minzaal was last sighted finishing third on his Group One debut in the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket in October having previously secured Group Two honours in the Gimcrack at York.
Although Minzaal has been forced to miss the first part of the season through injury, Burrows reports the promising sprinter to be making good progress at home.
He said: “Minzaal is in good strong work now but he is still carrying a good bit of weight and we need to sharpen him up now over the next couple of weeks.
“There are not a huge amount of races around for horses like him but I would like to think he would be ready in early August.
“He is entered in a Group Three in Ireland, but there is a five furlong conditions race at Nottingham on August 10th.
“He has never run over five furlongs before that might be an option to blow away the cobwebs. He is showing plenty of his old speed at home.”
While a trip to Ireland is the more high profile option, Burrows believes that given the current climate it might pay dividends to start Minzaal off closer to home.
He added: “Both races slot in nicely in before the Sprint Cup and as long as it is not bottomless up at Haydock, which it can get, that is the type of race we want to be talking about.
“It might be the more sensible option putting him in the box and going to Nottingham as it is not easy taking horses away at the moment.
“If we feel his first run will be needed then Nottingham would be the more favourable option.”
Although Burrows has been forced to make do without Minzaal, who is a 20-1 chance with the sponsor for the Betfair Sprint Cup on September 4, for the first part of the season he already has half an eye on next term with the Shadwell-owned colt.
He added: “There is no pressure this year with him as he is a horse that will be staying in training as a four year old.
“It is nice to know we don’t have to be panicking that time is of the essence with him.”
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