Clare Cunningham is preparing to nut out a game plan for Cradle Mountain ahead of his Randwick return in a race where tactics appear vital.
A field of seven will line up in the Bisley Workwear Handicap (1200m) on Saturday with up to five of the runners, including Cradle Mountain, likely to be seeking forward positions.
Cunningham admits she is concerned where Cradle Mountain will settle from his awkward draw of five and is keen to send jockey Mathew Cahill into battle with a plan.
“Tomorrow’s race is a bit concerning just with the speed map but we will have to make up a plan as to how we can best ride him to give him his best chance,” Cunningham said.
“I just want to see him run a really good race.
“Hopefully Mathew can sum it up when the gates open.”
Cradle Mountain’s rivals include speedy former Perth galloper Special Reward, who is having his first start for Kris Lees, Passage Of Time who dominated to win at Randwick last start, and on-pace runner Southern Lad.
Albumin has also gone forward at his past two starts, although trainer Gerald Ryan has indicated he may be ridden more conservatively if the tempo is genuine.
Cradle Mountain has not raced since being placed in the Spring Preview behind Girl Tuesday in August.
It was the end of an experimental preparation in which Cunningham tested the horse beyond 1200 metres for the first time, and learned he did not appreciate heavy tracks.
“It was a bit of a funny preparation but we were able to see if he could run further than six furlongs and he was able to do that successfully,” Cunningham said.
“It was a character building prep, but the horse is really well now.”
Cunningham is hoping to raise the bar for Cradle Mountain this campaign and target some races over the Sydney autumn carnival.
The trainer will also start Savvy Ken at Randwick and is looking for him to improve on a bigger track after he resumed with an unplaced run at Canterbury.