David Feek believes the best of Barwon might still be a year away but the progressive stayer has done enough to earn his chance in the Listed Andrew Ramsden Stakes.
Feek, who trains in partnership with his wife Coral at Mornington, took four-year-old Barwon to Flemington last start and was thrilled with the way the gelding stepped up to be counted, finishing second to Lucky Lucky Lucky over 2800m.
“He obviously pleased us immensely with his performance last start,” Feek said.
“I’ve had a look at the nominations and while there’s a little more depth than that last race, we feel he’s done enough and come out of the race really well. We think we’ll have another go.”
Feek said Saturday’s 3200m-race would be Barwon’s final start of the campaign.
Barwon is by Reset out of a half-sister to Group One winner Zipping.
After winning a 2200m-benchmark race on the synthetic track at Pakenham at his fifth start, Feek decided to test Barwon in the 2800m open handicap in town.
The gelding stuck his nose in front around 250m from home before he was overhauled by Lucky Lucky Lucky who raced to a 1-1/2-length win.
“I still think he’s probably even a year away from us seeing the best of him,” Feek said.
“So whatever he’s doing now is probably a bonus.”
Feek said there were two main reasons to press on to Saturday’s off-season staying feature over the Melbourne Cup distance.
“I think he’ll absolutely relish the trip, and the other thing is that he’s just come out of his last race so well,” Feek said.
“After he finished second at Pakenham, I wondered whether he was going off the boil then.
“But he’s just improved and improved. He’s eating better than he ever has. He looks superb and he’s just really growing up mentally.”
Barwon and Lucky Lucky Lucky are among seven of the 24 Ramsden entries to run in the 2800m race last Saturday week.
Saturday’s Listed Straight Six (1200m) at Flemington has 34 nominations.