By Ray Hickson
Talented galloper Suncraze will be out to stake his claim for next month’s $200,000 Anniversary Highway when he resurfaces from a short break at Rosehill on Saturday.
But barrier one has brought Suncraze undone once in Sydney already – at Warwick Farm on July 8 - and while trainer Melanie O’Gorman said the pole position isn’t her preferred spot she’s not going to take any drastic action.
The gelding is the $2.50 favourite for the TAB Highway Handicap (1200m), his only lead up run into the rich country feature on Everest Day.
“I’m not interested in changing his racing pattern,’’ she said.
“Barrier one is not ideal for us. I’ll be telling Corey (Brown) to ride him quiet and do his thing and Corey knows the horse is much better when he gets to the outside and he has clear running.’’
Suncraze wins a Tamworth barrier trial - August 29
O’Gorman has had the four-year-old treading water since his barnstorming win at Randwick on July 22 which broke a run of six consecutive second placings.
He stepped out in a 1000m trial on his home track at Tamworth at the end of August and, against his racing style, led most of the way to win by over four lengths.
“I knew he needed to have a good fitness test during that trial because he hadn’t raced for five weeks,’’ she said.
“It was great to see him win by the margin he did at Randwick because he’d always promised.
“There was hype around the horse even though we had six seconds in a row so it was nice to get the win.’’
O’Gorman has set a plan in place to get Suncraze to the Anniversary Highway so says it’s important that he’s attacking the line strongly on Saturday to set him up for the return to the Randwick 1400m.
She said Suncraze will have a 1200m barrier trial at Newcastle on September 29 that will help bridge the five week gap between Saturday’s race and the Anniversary.
“I’d just like to see him hitting the line and run well to know we are still on track,’’ she said.