The Sportsman Weekend

Inferno to burn up the track in McEwen


CLIFF Brown expects an improved effort from his dual Group 1 winner The Inferno when he steps out in the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) at Valley tomorrow but declared the gelding is still short of his peak.

The son Holy Roman Emperor built a superb record in Singapore where he was crowned Champion 2YO in 2019 and 3YO and Sprinter in 2020.

At his Australian debut in the Regal Roller Stakes at Caulfield, the gelding was caught wide and over raced before finishing sixth.

“I really ballsed it up. I knew he would need the run but by the same token, he was nowhere near as fit as I thought was,” Brown said.

“I’ve never trained at Mornington before and I’m still learning what is enough work and what is too much.

“When he returned to Australia, had eight weeks out in a paddock and he really put a lot of weight on. He did too well.

“The way he was recovering from gallops, I thought he was well but he just wasn’t as forward as needed to be.

“He has improved since that run and he trialled well last week but he’s still not 100 per cent ready.”

The McEwen wasn’t part of Brown’s original plan but said it looks an ideal stepping stone as the gelding continues to acclimatis­e.

“I needed to give him another race and it looks really suitable,” he said.

“I don’t want to see him overracing like he did at Caulfield and this looks the perfect race to see him settle back and hopefully finish off strongly.

“I think he will measure up in Australia but it might be the autumn when we see him at his best.”

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