FIGHTING a large seemingly invincible army with just 300 soldiers could seem like an easy assignment compared to the battle Leonidas faces this weekend.
Leonidas was a battle-hardened King of the Greek city-state of Sparta, who was portrayed by Gerard Butler in the cult movie, 300.
Leonidas the standardbred is a classy four-year-old which – to trainer by Blake Fitzpatrick’s dismay – is taking a massive step up in class at Club Menangle on Saturday night.
A last start winner at the world class venue, the Australian Pacing Gold purchase is set to contest the King Of Swing Free-For-All, named in honour of last week’s $1million Ainsworth Miracle Mile champion.
Fitzpatrick’s problem with Leonidas’ inclusion in the field is the son of Mach Three’s recent win was in what would traditionally be regarded as an M0!
“I can’t believe he has to step up so high in grade,” Fitzpatrick said. “He should be an M1 now but based on the handicapping he’s going straight into free-for-all.
“Affectively he has lost several grades, and if this keeps happening, we’ve got to consider what kind of future he has here because he is on his mark well before he should be.
“It basically means if he can’t handle the rise his owners have to wait for five bad runs so he can drop back in class all while paying up for him!
“With the way the system is going, and the weak Australian dollar, we will see more and more horses being sold to America, which could include him.”
To be driven my Fitzpatrick, Leonidas has drawn barrier seven, but slots into six with the removal of the emergency.
Grand Circuit performers Let It Ride and Cash N Flow are the pair to beat from gate eight and 10 according to the prominent horseman.
“He’s the lowest assessed horse in the race and then with the way the draw is done he’s coming from out wide, which makes it all the more difficult for him,” Fitzpatrick said.
“Let It Ride and Cash N Flow are the two to beat and we’ll just have to see where we land in the run and hope for the best.”