Flying Fighter eyeing a first, Latest Racing News - The New Paper

Flying Fighter eyeing a first

After going close in his last few runs, trainer Burridge’s 3YO looks set to shed maiden tag

Flying Fighter may well kick wide open that door he has been knocking on for a while.

The Showtime three-year-old has been a work in progress, but has noticeably improved by leaps and bounds at the last three of his eight outings.

Early signs he was turning the corner first surfaced when the shadow roll was slapped on towards the tail-end of his 2023 campaign.

A tad field-shy in his first endeavours, he picked his way towards daylight a lot better when the headgear was fitted.

He then took a five-month break before resuming his 2024 campaign in March.

A closing fourth followed by another fast-finishing third, both on Polytrack, suggested his days as a maiden were numbered.

The switch to turf at his last start in an Open Maiden over 1,200m on April 13 did go against the grain. But trainer Steven Burridge recalled that his past runs on that surface were not without merit.

Under Manoel Nunes for the first time, he again attacked the line to beat all but July, albeit the style was more dour-like than spectacular.

In the $20,000 Maiden (1,200m), he is back to the all-weather and is drawn a little sticky in nine. But he should be able to tuck in with cover, probably in midfield or worse.

After two icebreakers, Nunes should have a fairer idea when to get on his bike now.

On collateral form, Lover Boy is the main danger.

The All Too Hard three-year-old flew home for third in that race Flying Fighter ran second to July.

Sacred Gold ran a terrific second at his last start while French jockey Charles Perkins is desperate to shed his own maiden tag.

Likely pacesetter Wins Eight would have inspired more confidence if not for lucky barrier No. 13.

If he burns too much petrol to go forward, he may get the staggers late but should still be good enough to hang on for a place.