Gordon Richards admits the weight scale is not ideal for Gytrash in his upcoming Group Three assignment but the Adelaide trainer believes The Heath will be a good test of the promising sprinter’s spring credentials.
And if the four-year-old can upstage some of his more experienced rivals in Saturday’s 1100m-race, it could set him up for a possible tilt at an Everest berth.
The winner of Saturday’s The Heath earns a ballot exemption into the Group Two Schillaci Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on October 12, with the winner of that race to be offered the Melbourne Racing Club’s slot in the $14 million Everest in Sydney.
Gytrash claimed two wins at Flemington against his own age in June, including the Listed Creswick Stakes, which gave Richards more encouragement to set him for the spring.
Richards says the Schillaci is one of the options.
“Absolutely. It wasn’t originally,” he said.
“The downside to that is the Schillaci is only a week before The Everest so that’s probably not ideal.
“But it is what it is. It’s good to know going forward that if he wins on Saturday you’re exempt from the ballot in the Schillaci which carries that other bonus as well.
“Whether we go that way or not, at least that’s available to us.
“It’s not the be-all and end-all.”
Gytrash has shown his effectiveness down the Flemington straight so there are other spring options.
Despite giving away experience and ratings points to his rivals, under the set weights plus penalties conditions of Saturday’s race Gytrash has to carry 58kg.
Dual Group One winner and 2017 Everest runner-up Vega Magic, the current favourite, has only 57kg having not won for more than a year.
“He’s not really well weighted but I guess he doesn’t know that,” Richards said.
“You’ve got a horse like Vega Magic who has won a couple of million dollars and he’s got less weight than him.
“But we’re going to have a crack so we’ll see what happens.”
Gytrash comfortably won a barrier trial in good time in Adelaide last week and Richards believes he has improved from that heading into The Heath.
Craig Williams won the Creswick Stakes on Gytrash and the champion jockey sticks with the gelding on Saturday.
“He was full of praise after that and said he wanted to stick with him whatever he did,” Richards said.
“So that’s a bit of an endorsement on the horse, I think.”