A defence of the Magic Millions Sprint at the Gold Coast is the main objective for Husson Eagle who begins his latest campaign in a Listed race at Sandown.
Husson Eagle is a $6.50 chance in Saturday’s Doveton Stakes (1000m) and while trainer Patrick Payne believes he will run well first-up and a win would not surprise, he has also warned that the gelding’s main target is still another nine weeks away.
“He’s normally got a good record fresh, but we’re planning to peak him on Magic Millions day,” Payne said.
Husson Eagle won the $1 million Magic Millions Sprint last season and Payne said it was an ideal target again.
Payne took Husson Eagle to Sandown on Tuesday for a gallop in company with another horse in preparation for his return in the Doveton Stakes.
Payne rode the lead-out horse in the gallop while his Melbourne Cup-winning sister Michelle rode Husson Eagle and will be aboard on Saturday.
“We weren’t there to test his ability. He was more there just to get him away from home for a day out but I thought he worked well,” Payne said.
“Michelle said she didn’t fully extend him but he felt good to her.
“I think the Sandown lay-out suits him. He has plenty of time to find his feet and balance up and run on.”
While the gelding went into last year’s Magic Millions Sprint at his third run from a spell, Payne said because he is a another year older he is looking to send him into the race on January 14 at his fourth start.
He is planning to start the gelding twice in Melbourne before either running him at Canterbury or in Brisbane before the Magic Millions.