By Brad Gray At Royal Randwick
Melanie O’Gorman has The Everest day on her mind after Suncraze ended a frustrating run of seconds with an overdue win in Saturday’s TAB Highway Handicap (1400m).
The $200,000 Anniversary TAB Highway has recently been added to The Everest day program and is what the late three-year-old will be set for over the Sydney spring carnival.
“After the announcement of the Highway race on Everest day, let’s hope we have a high enough benchmark after today. Now that he is a bit more mature he is really coping with the racing and I quite often space his runs apart,” said the Tamworth-based trainer.
“I could quite easily freshen him up now and keep him going for the (Anniversary TAB) race.
“You don’t get many shots to race on a day like Everest day. It’s a fabulous incentive for country owners so I think we should really have a go and aim for that.”
Suncraze had previously run six consecutive seconds, the latest when losing in a photo finish at Warwick Farm which prompted Corey Brown to suggest that blinkers go on next time.
“We had to laugh last start at Warwick Farm that’s all we could do and I said to (owner) Anthony (Gow-Gates) after the race that at least we are getting closer,” reflected O’Gorman.
“I knew he had the ability, and everybody could see that, he’s just been a very tricky horse as he doesn’t have a lot of confidence. He doesn’t like being bottled up. I was confident in the run being back but still in touch that he should get to the outside and a nice big track suits him.
“(Anthony) is a great person to train for. He’s allowed me to be so patient. He is such a willing horse that I didn’t want to pressure him too early as a young horse. It’s taken until today to put the blinkers on him because we wanted to give him every chance to get it right on his own.
“I always thought he’d run a mile-2000m and I didn’t want to mess with his style of racing over the shorter distances because I was hoping you’d see the best of him once he got out over further.”
Brown, who deservedly earned plenty of praise for Suncraze’s success, suggested that he’d be the perfect Country Championships horse next autumn.
“He doesn’t even have to improve. Mentally if he focuses up a little bit more he is going to be a really nice horse,” Brown said.
— Racing NSW (@racing_nsw) July 22, 2017