Trainer Mike Moroney’s prediction this will be Hang Man’s best preparation yet will be put to the test when the gelding wears blinkers for the first time at Caulfield.
Hang Man has finished midfield in the Group Three Victoria Handicap (1400m) before a last-start second over 1700m at Flemington to Rapture.
Moroney is looking for the six-year-old to go one better in Saturday’s Bert Bryant Handicap (1600m) and hopes the blinkers will help.
“We’ve been very happy with him and I said to the owners when he came back in this time that it’s the best he’s ever looked and I thought he was going to be in for his best campaign,” Moroney said.
“Hopefully I’m going to be right. His first run was good enough but his second run was really good.”
Hang Man has barrier four and Moroney is concerned about him missing the start.
“The only risk we take is that he’s not the best beginner without them and sometimes they do miss the start with blinkers on for the first time,” Moroney said.
“That’s going to be the only problem. He might not be able to use that barrier draw that well but he is going very well and I think the blinkers will make a difference to him.
“(Jockey) Micky Dee made the comment that he had a bit of a gawk at the winner the other day when he got through that gap.
“He’s done that before too and I’ve always thought blinkers might be his go.”
Moroney wanted to try Hang Man in blinkers over 1600m rather than further and believes if he can get even luck and not over-race in the headgear he will take holding out.
Hang Man, who will be Moroney’s only runner at Caulfield, has won six of his 20 starts.
He won the Benalla Cup (2046m) last spring but Moroney admits he expected more that preparation.
Although Hang Man began his career with a close second over 2406m in England and has a win over 2400m, Moroney is not convinced he runs out the distance strongly having finished fifth and third in the Herbert Power Stakes and Bendigo Cup.
Plans for a Queensland winter campaign were shelved when a number of feature races in Brisbane were scrapped because of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Instead Moroney hopes Hang Man can figure in some open handicaps in Melbourne during winter before he decides how far he can go.