Sikandarabad has defied an alarming betting drift to win at Caulfield with the Lindsay Park stable now setting its sights on the Australian Cup.
Senior trainer David Hayes said Sikandarabad deserved a shot at a higher grade after being ridden upside down to claim Saturday’s Listed Mornington Cup Prelude.
With Jordan Childs aboard, Sikandarabad drifted from $2.35 to $3.40 before defeating Call Me Handsome ($7) by a half-neck with Midterm ($4.60) a long-neck away third.
Hayes said Sikandarabad was to be ridden midfield with cover but after flying the start, Childs improvised to sit outside the leader.
Holding concerns about his position running to the home turn, Hayes was impressed with the fight the gelding showed in the straight.
“He was ridden totally out of character,” Hayes said.
“He’ll improve a lot out of this and despite the tactic he still won, which is a good sign from a good, honest horse.”
Hayes said the Group One Australian Cup, run over 2000m at Flemington on March 9, was a worthy target.
“At his last Group One run he was beaten a head, a head in the Metropolitan in Sydney,” he said.
“He stretched Avilius last start and if Avilius is favourite, then he’s got to be a bit of a chance.”