Trainers Gerald Ryan and Sterling Alexiou are hoping a patient approach pays dividends with up-and-coming stayer Oceanic Flash after opting against starting him in the W J McKell Cup.
The four-year-old was among nominations for Saturday’s Listed 2000m race before connections decided to keep him to benchmark company in the Roger Norton Handicap over the same journey.
It is no reflection on the stable’s opinion of the horse, but rather of their desire to win another race or two before stepping him up in grade.
“We did have him entered for the McKell Cup on Saturday, but we were worried if he ran really well in it without winning, the handicapper might grab hold of him and we might lose a couple of races he could run in,” Alexiou said.
“He is a horse that doesn’t take a lot of work and if anything, I just hope 2000 metres is far enough for him on Saturday.”
Oceanic Flash is back in Sydney after a hit-and-run mission in Brisbane where he was doing his best work late to finish fourth to the Annabel Neasham-trained Bartholomeu Dias over 1800m at Eagle Farm.
That horse is challenging for favouritism for the Listed Ipswich Cup, so Alexiou figures it is a handy form reference.
“He ended up settling towards the rear of the field the other day and Eagle Farm of late, it has been quite hard to make up good ground,” Alexiou said.
“He didn’t finish far off Annabel’s horse, who cut the corner and got all the luck through the field.
“It’s around the mark as favourite in an Ipswich Cup, so I would imagine if they can run on at Rosehill on Saturday, he will be right in the finish again.”
Oceanic Flash, who will step up in distance after this weekend, was a $26 chance on Friday with the in-form Arapaho favourite at $3.10.