By Ray Hickson
A runner under the care of Gauguin’s former trainer will be used by his new trainer John Sargent as a measuring stick to see how far the promising galloper can progress.
Sargent took over the training of the four-year-old when James Cummings made the move to Godolphin and how he performs against the Sheikh’s representative Malahat in the Schweppes Handicap (1200m) at Canterbury on Wednesday will shape his preparation.
Gauguin (pronounced Go Gann) hasn’t raced since finishing fourth behind Invincible Gem in the Group 3 Spring Stakes (the Newcastle feature switched from the spring) at Rosehill on February 13.
“James told me he liked him and he ran a good race in the Spring Stakes,’’ Sargent said.
“Now being a bit older hopefully he can go on with it and it will give us a good line with Malahat in the race, he will be the one to beat.
“I’m very happy with him, he’s ready to kick off.’’
Gauguin showed speed in his latest barrier trial over 1045m at Randwick on August 21 and split Godolphin colts Kementari and Beau Geste at the finish.
Sargent expects the gelding to excel over a bit more ground later on in his preparation but said he has the early speed to be prominent at 1200m.
“Obviously I hope to get him up to at least a mile but his fitness is good and it’s a good place to start,’’ he said.
“The Dalghars take a bit of time, I bought one at the sales this year, so hopefully we can see how far we can go with him this campaign.
“He trialled well between those two Godolphin three-year-olds and he’s drawn a nice gate, Glyn (Schofield) knows him so he should run a nice race.’’
Meanwhile, Sargent said he’s still mystified by the second-up flop of his Oaks bound filly Luvaluva and is sending her back to the trials at Randwick on Thursday.
After an exciting debut at Goulburn in July the filly looked very one paced when seventh at Kembla Grange on August 19.
“I don’t know what happened the other day. The jockey (Jeff Penza) said he thought she felt the track or the wind but she seems fine and is jumping around,’’ Sargent said.
“We are pressing on as though nothing happened and I would expect her to trial well.’’
Sargent said all being well after the trial Luvaluva will run over a mile at Kembla on Saturday week before making her city debut.