By Ray Hickson
Trainer Adrian McGregor’s a long range plan to win next month’s Grafton Cup with consistent stayer Approach Discreet goes up a notch at Rosehill on Saturday.
It’ll be the five-year-old’s first assignment above Benchmark 84 level in two preps under McGregor’s care in the Listed $150,000 XXXX WJ McKell Cup (2000m) and if the forecast for some showers around the meeting is correct his confidence will soar.
Approach Discreet finished strongly for third behind Mubariz over 1800m on a soft 5 at Rosehill a month ago and McGregor said he’s now in his comfort zone distance wise.
“This prep we gave him a couple of fitness runs to get him where he was going and this was a lead up race for the Grafton Cup,’’ McGregor said.
“It’s his first attempt out of benchmark racing but he’s a horse that always hits the line and I can’t wait to see him with no weight on his back.
“I liked his run, he’s been a little bit underdone the whole way along.”
The gelding carried 58.5kg last start, clocking the race’s second fastest last 600m of 34.53 (Punter’s Intelligence), and drops to 53kg with Kerrin McEvoy taking over from Reece Jones.
Approach Discreet runs third at Rosehill on May 22
McGregor said missing a planned barrier trial prior to his first-up run at Caulfield back in mid-April put him behind fitness wise but now he’s caught up and just needs conditions to suit.
“He’s a 2000m horse that needs a bit of give in the track,’’ he said.
“The idea was to get him to this sort of distance without breaking him. When he’s fair dinkum ready to go he needs a minimum soft 6. He’d run the same time on a heavy track as he does on a good track.
“He’s still got to step up to that tougher grade but if it got into the (heavy) 8-9 range with 53kg I’m sweet with that.”
The Cranbourne trainer has made three trips to Rosehill with Approach Discreet and is yet to finish out of the placings including a win over Parry Sound, one of the early McKell Cup favourites, in November on a heavy track and meets him 2kg better.
The $200,000 McLean Hotel Grafton Cup (2350m) is run on July 8 and while it is the aim McGregor said the Grafton track will need to be rain affected for him to continue the campaign north.
“I wouldn’t run him on a good track,’’ he said.
“The Grafton Cup was something for us to aim towards. It’s a great carnival, I love Grafton and actually spent a couple of years in the area.
“Even if he wins he will still get in with a lesser weight than what he’s been carrying. A mile and a half, fifth-up and if we get a soft track it could be a good race for us.”
Approach Discreet was $9 with TAB in a wide McKell Cup market on Wednesday.