Trainer Robert Smerdon is lukewarm on the chances of Go The Knuckle at Sandown on Saturday despite a significant weight drop.
Go The Knuckle has carried 57.5kg at his past two outings and will have three kilos less in the Listed City of Greater Dandenong Stakes (1200m).
But Smerdon fears the weight relief won’t be enough to offset the challenge of some exceptionally tough opposition.
The $120,000 feature race boasts seven stakes winners including top weights Ready To Rip and Pago Rock.
Smerdon said the quality of nominations surprised him and he was hopeful rather than confident that his sprinter could take his record to two wins from his past three starts.
“It’s probably a bit deeper race than I thought it might have otherwise been,” Smerdon said.
“He’s dropping down significantly (in weight) from his last start but that never affects the quality of the race.”
Go The Knuckle has not raced at the spacious Sandown circuit in his 23-start career but Smerdon says the long straight will aid the five-year-old.
“Sandown will suit him but it’s a tough race,” Smerdon said.
“Hopefully there will be enough pace on to let him finish strongly.”
Smerdon has booked Jack Hill to ride Go The Knuckle while apprentice Josh Cartwright will partner the stable’s other runner Politeness in the Hilton Manufacturing Handicap.
Politeness finished third in the Group Two Thousand Guineas Prelude in the spring but Smerdon said he would assess the filly’s Sandown performance before deciding her next target.
Cartwright’s three kilo claim will leave Politeness with 58kg to carry from barrier 16.