Costly Commitment will be set for the $1.5 million Victoria Derby following his win over 1700 metres at Caulfield on Saturday.
The Encosta de Lago colt, who was a $600,000 yearling, was originally being aimed at the $1 million Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 8.
But trainer Mick Price abandoned those plans after he ran a well-beaten third to Whisper Downs over 1500 metres at Moonee Valley last Saturday.
Price decided to back him up in Saturday’s Carlton Draught Racing Sweep Hcp (1700m) in which he was sent out at $5.
Ridden by Craig Newitt, Costly Commitment settled beyond midfield from barrier one but ran on nicely to score by 1-1/2 lengths from Salter ($7.50) with Scelto ($18) a half-head away third.
“We took a bit of information out of Moonee Valley last week. I would have loved to have a Caulfield Guineas horse but realistically when they can’t run the sectionals …,” Price said.
“We ran him at the Valley with a view to running him in the Bill Stutt and going on to the Guineas.”
Now that those plans are out the door, Costly Commitment will run in the Listed UCI Stakes (1800m) at Flemington on October 2 and the Group Three Norman Robinson Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on October 15 as Derby lead ups.
Price trained Costly Commitment’s dam Mutate to win over 1700m on Melbourne Cup Day at Flemington in 2004 for owner Tony Santic whose great stayer Makybe Diva won the second of her three successive Cups that day.
Mutate won four races including the Listed O J Smith Challenge (2044m) at Morphettville.
“She was a big staying Octagonal mare and that’s the way this colt is going too so I’m happy with that and he should just keep progressing,” Price said.
“I’ll have no trouble keeping the weight on him.
“He’s strong and tough and dour and he’s actually been over the logs in the middle (of Caulfield) for a bit of obedience training.
“The concern was that he’s actually a bit lazy and a bit wound down but it should stand him in good stead for the Derby.”
The Group One Victoria Derby (2500m) is at Flemington on October 29.