Back to the basics
Swooping style suits smar t Suncraze for Highway debut
TRAINER Melanie O’Gorman isn’t about to mess with promising three-year-old Suncraze’s racing style just yet but is convinced he’s not a one dimensional sprinter.
Suncraze makes his city debut in the Tony Sleiman Memoral Highway Handicap ( 1100m) at Randwick tomorrow and O’Gorman is keen to see how he measures up.
The gelding resumed with an eye-catching second on the first day of the Scone carnival but remains at a sprint trip despite his trainer’s view he’ll eventually excel over further.
“I’d like to give him a few runs shorter distances then stretch him out later on the in the prep and see how far he can run,” O’Gorman said.
“We’ll know more as we step him up in trip but I’m not in any rush to do that because he’s a fast horse and he proved that at Scone.
“If he can run 1400m or a mile and the tempo of the race is slower then I don’t expect him to be back last and be giving away such a lead.
“It’d be nice to midfield and travelling rather than out the back door.”
Suncraze was right back and very wide when they turned at Scone and his effort to run Cadogan, who gained a glorious rails run, to less than length was outstanding.
O’Gorman said he was pretty fit for that run, knowing it would be a tougher Class 1 event than standard, and has come through in fine style.
He galloped on the course proper at Tamworth Tuesday to complete his preparation for Sydney.
“I had him fairly wound up Scone, I put a lot of work into him for that run so I wouldn’t say there’s a lot of improvement but the important thing is he’s pulled up well,” she said.
“I know he’s only a Class 1 horse still but his run at Scone proved that worthy of run in a Highway.”
O’Gorman, who also has lightly raced six-year-old Trustee engaged in the Highway, been earmarked for a Highway race since his debut win at Dubbo.
He’s been beaten favourite, finishing second, in all three starts since.
“All along I had always said to his owner that these races are there for country horses and we should make the most of them when we get to that level,” she said.
“He probably should be a Class 2 horse by now at least.
“He’s a lovely horse, he’s so consistent and always puts in a good effort.”
Prolific Highway winning trainer Matthew Dale is confident some race experience at Highway level will stand Clipper in good stead for tomorrow’s task.
The filly was placed two Highway events at Randwick earlier this year after kicking off her career with back to back country wins.
Dale said Clipper has matured with the break and had this Highway event in mind for some time.
“Until we get to the races we won’t know the level of improvement she’s made because she doesn’t do a great deal home,” Dale said.
“I’m happy with her, she’s had a nice balanced preparation and two maintenance jump outs where she’s not asked to do a lot.
“From a profile point of view you’d like to think she’ll improve having had one preparation and she’s shown she’s up to that class.”
Dale said he’ll be hoping jockey Tim Clark can give Clipper plenty of cover in tomorrow’s race and expose her for a late dash after being a sitting shot in her first Highway attempt.
Meanwhile, Dale said unbeaten three-year-old Il Bandito is pencilled in to make his city debut in a 1000m Highway event at Randwick on June 8.