By Ray Hickson
Trainer John Sargent will consider rewarding in-form stayer Only Tiger with a shot at next month’s Grafton Cup if he can complete a hat-trick at Randwick on Saturday.
The four-year-old has only had 13 starts, 11 of those in this calendar year, since a year off the scene and to the trainer’s eye seems to be getting better.
Sargent said the Evergreen Turf Handicap (2400m) is a good opportunity for Only Tiger to step into Saturday grade after wins at provincial and midweek city level.
“I think it is a nice race, especially at the weights as he drops back 3kg,’’ Sargent said.
“Obviously it's up in grade but it's not a big jump and we think he will be very competitive.’’
Despite having back-to-back heavy track wins against his name Only Tiger is a $6 chance though he’s yet to tick the 2400m box.
Only Tiger outstays his rivals at Warwick Farm on June 13
The gelding has placed at the trip and at 2600m but Sargent said now jockey Tim Clark has perfected the steering job the distance is the least of his concerns.
Plus, according to Punters Intel data, he covered an extra 29m in his last start win over the 2110m.
“He learned that he's a grinding stayer who has to get out and going,’’ Sargent said.
“He galloped well during the well so I'm very happy with him. He seems to thrive on work and being in the stable.
“I know the breed well, the dam is by City On The Hill, and they grow a leg in the wet.’’
The Listed $160,000 Grafton Cup (2350m) is run on Thursday July 12.
Sargent said his rising four-year-old Luvaluva has put on 43kg in her break and he still has time up his sleeve to devise a plan for the spring.
If he decides she’s a Cups horse he’ll likely head to Melbourne with her but there’s also the Epsom (1600m) or Metropolitan (2400m) in Sydney as options too.
“It's working out the right race and whether it's a hard mile at Randwick or down in the Cup races,’’ he said.
“She obviously didn't back up from the Adrian Knox into the Oaks so we know that and we'll just work a plan around that. She'll have a good season, she looks more mature.’’
Luvaluva ran fourth in the Victorian Oaks last spring and 11th in the ATC Oaks, starting $6.50 in both races.