Adrian Bott believes Ecuador is on track to replicate his Listed McKell Cup-winning exploits at Randwick.
Among the mass defections for the Group One Doomben Cup last Saturday, the eight-year-old gelding has the fourth run of this preparation at Randwick in a race he won in 2016.
Co-trainer Adrian Bott expects Ecuador to thrive in the 2400m feature.
“He’s probably ideally placed in a set weights and penalties sort of race but they’re a bit tricky to find at the moment,” he said.
“Although he’s not quite a Group One or Group Two winner he’s very highly rated because he’s had some very good performance in weight-for-age races.
“He’s honest, he’s racing consistently and I’m sure his turn will come.”
Ecuador has drawn the outside gate in the field on 10 with Adam Hyeronimus and lumps the top weight of 60kg.
“He won it a couple of years ago and we’ve followed the same program,” he said.
“He probably just showed last start again he’s just looking for that little bit further.”
Ecuador was gunned down in the straight by McKell Cup rival Our Century in the Listed Lord Mayor’s Cup (2000m) at Rosehill on May 5 after a trademark front-running performance.
“He was just outsprinted late, he stuck on really well and he’s come through that race in really good shape,” Bott said.
Bott said Ecuador would ideally head to Queensland.
The last time Ecuador was sent north he raced in the 2016 Brisbane Cup (2400m) after winning the McKell Cup.
The other options was to rest up ahead of a spring campaign.
If Ecuador can become the first horse to win the McKell Cup twice he will also create history as carrying the heaviest weight to victory since the staying feature was first run in 1962.
He carried 59.5kg when winning in 2016, the same weight Praise Indeed lugged in 1999.
Destiny’s Kiss, the other veteran in the McKell Cup field with a rating over 100, carries 59.5kg in his 83rd career start.