By Ray Hickson
With a textbook maiden win in the bank, trainer Greg Hickman wants to see a different side to Eleven Eleven at Kembla Grange on Thursday.
The two-year-old didn’t go around a horse in winning two weeks ago and is unlikely to be afforded all the favours from an outside barrier in the Mount Kembla Handicap (1000m) but Hickman said having to overcome an obstacle or two might not be such a bad thing.
Especially as there are loftier goals for him in the summer.
"I'd like to be able to take a sit. That's why we've kept him to 1000m, to teach him to settle,'' he said.
"I'm only guessing but I think there's a couple there that go pretty hard. He could be midfield one out one back and see how it pans out from there.
"The barrier helped us last time, the barrier is against us this time.''
Eleven Eleven started his career in Queensland as Hickman was hoping he’d be up to a start in the Magic Millions and it’s that meeting that he has his eyes on again when the gelding is three.
So while the step up to a Class 1 against older horses might be a modest one, he’s an early $3.20 TAB favourite, it’s an important step for the youngster to make.
Eleven Eleven wins at Kembla Grange on July 11
“I thought he might have (won) a bit earlier but he wanted to do a lot of things wrong,’’ Hickman said.
“We wanted to try and get him to the Magic Millions but it just didn't happen. He’s going well now and he won well the other day.
“I don't know what sort of ground he can get over, I might be pushing the button the wrong way and he might only be a 1000m-1100m horse.
“We'd like him to run 1400m because that's what the Magic Millions is.’’
Some of the owners of Eleven Eleven have already tasted Magic Millions success with Pierata and they’re eyeing a bigger prize as the soon to be five-year-old prepares for the $14m TAB Everest.
Hickman said Pierata is currently weighing in at 533kg, around 50kg heavier than his racing weight from last prep, suggesting there’s been some decent development in his break.
“I think he looks super, he's going along slowly,’’ he said.
“He's never been a fattie, he's probably grown up a little bit so you have to allow for that as well.’’
Pierata, $8 third favourite with TAB, runs in the Aquis Everest slot and he’ll have two trials leading into the Group 3 Concorde Stakes (1000m), where he’ll meet the likes of Redzel, Sunlight and Zoustyle, run on September 7.
The first of them will be on August 9 and the second two weeks later.
“The first one will be a track gallop, he won't be out to break any records. We can have a look at how he goes around and how he pulls up without over taxing him,’’ he said.
“We've got to keep him a little bit fresh because we're running in a 1000m race first-up.’’