Grahame Begg has been waiting for the right race to put blinkers on Ilovethiscity and he has found it in Saturday’s Group One George Main Stakes at Rosehill.
“It’s his first time in blinkers,” Begg said.
“We’ve had them up our sleeve for a while so I thought Saturday was a good opportunity to go down that track.
“Hopefully they will just keep him a bit more switched on.”
The four-year-old disappointed favourite backers in the Sebring Sprint (1300m) at Rosehill last weekend when he could finish only eighth to Master Of Design.
A backmarker renowned for his finishing burst, Ilovethiscity made some ground but never threatened.
Having had a few days to reflect on the performance, Begg believes Ilovethiscity had genuine excuses.
“The race probably wasn’t run to suit him really,” Begg said.
“It was a slowly run race and they quickened up before the turn and the horses that got back a bit found it hard to get into the race.
“He didn’t let down as quick with the 58 kilos on his back and he was giving five and six kilos to the rest of the field.”
Ilovethiscity also dropped back in trip for the Sebring after finishing runner-up to Pinwheel when he resumed in the Warwick Stakes (1400m) last month.
“That was a bearing factor. He did run over 1400 on a heavy track first-up then came back to the 1300.”
Ilovethiscity will have seven rivals in the George Main, which like many of the weight-for-age races is shaping as a tactical battle.
Patinack Farm’s Group One Railway Stakes winner Gathering and New Zealander Zara Dancer both race on the speed and Begg is hoping they will inject some tempo.
Favourite Sincero has the outside gate and Begg says it will be interesting to see what his jockey Chris O’Brien elects to do.
“He is going to have to make a decision on whether he goes forward or back,” Begg said,
“They’re not going to give him any favours.”
Sincero is equal favourite for the Epsom Handicap with the Begg-trained Secret Admirer, who will have her final lead-up in Saturday week’s Shannon Stakes (1500m).
Ilovethiscity is on the third line of Epsom betting at $11 and is second pick for the George Main at $4.40 behind Sincero ($2.40).
Dual Group One winner Sacred Choice ($7.50) will have blinkers for the first time this campaign in the George Main but her trainer Joe Pride believes she is still a run or two away from her peak.