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Image: Steve Hart
Former European Cepheus is expected to relish the step up to a genuine staying journey in the City Tattersalls Club Cup

The combination of a dry track and blinkers helped Cepheus return to from last start, and a distance rise at Randwick could prove the final piece of the puzzle.

An OTI Racing syndication, Cepheus was bought with lofty ambitions in mind and he made an encouraging local debut when storming home for fourth to Frosty Rocks over 1400m at Kembla Grange in August.

His form went off the boil at his next two starts on soft ground, prompting trainer Matt Dunn to hunt down a firm track and make a key gear change, and the result was a fine third behind Think It Over and Shared Ambition in the Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m).

“He came here with aspirations of getting to the Melbourne Cup,” Dunn said.

“He went so well at his first start we thought he might have just been a miler, but after his next couple of runs that probably went out the window. Whether it was the soft tracks, I don’t know.

“But he was strong to the line in the Hill Stakes the other day and if that race had been another 400 metres he would have nearly won.

“We might look at the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups next year, but we will just keep him home for now and try to win a race.”

The race Dunn has set his sights on is the Listed City Tattersalls Club Cup (2400m) at Randwick on Saturday.

A stakes winner over a similar trip in France, Cepheus is expected to relish the extra journey and Dunn has kept the blinkers on with the anticipation they will again prompt the entire to put himself in the race.

“Up to 2400 on Saturday, we will try to roll forward a little bit and the blinkers should help him do that,” he said.

“He’s so laidback but he’s got to adapt to Australian races and learn to quicken when we want him to quicken.”

While Dunn believes Saturday’s assignment is a perfect target for Cepheus, he expects resuming Scone Inglis Challenge winner Arteroto improve on whatever he does in the Listed Brian Crowley Stakes (1200m).

The three-year-old added 30kg to his frame during his spell and Dunn is looking forward to seeing what he can do this preparation.

“He’s only had the one run for me and he was quite immature,” Dunn said.

“The break has done him the world of good physically, but he has only had a couple of easy trials and jump outs so he will improve off the run.”

 
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