Sydney’s summer staying treble is the ambitious target for lightly-raced stayer King Utah, starting with Saturday’s Listed Frank Underwood Cup at Warwick Farm.
Port Macquarie trainer Wayne Wilkes doesn’t go far from home unless he is convinced the trip will be worth his while and he has confidence King Utah can make the step up to stakes company.
Wilkes brought King Utah to Sydney last month to claim an upset win in a 2400m midweek race at Warwick Farm then took him to Brisbane last Saturday week where he ran second over the same distance.
“It rained before the race in Brisbane which didn’t help him so it was a good effort,” Wilkes said.
“He keeps stepping up and if he steps up to this class then he will go on to the Christmas Cup and the Summer Cup.
“They are over 2400 metres which is a better distance for him than the 2200 on Saturday but he needs to get the miles in his legs.”
Wilkes has stuck with apprentice Anthony Allen, who rode King Utah at Warwick Farm and also rode him to win a race at Taree last year.
“Anthony has had two rides for two wins so he knows him,” Wilkes said.
“He rode for me a bit when he was based up here and he has improved a lot being in Sydney.”
Allen is now indentured to Gerald Ryan at Rosehill after a successful stint in Brisbane.
There were 10 entries taken for the Underwood on Monday including Cantonese and Moriarty who ran one-two over 2000 metres at Rosehill on Saturday.
Veteran stayer Fiumicino has also been nominated amid hopes he can capitalise on his recent encouraging form.
Earlier this spring, owner Nick Moraitis flagged the nine-year-old’s retirement but a close fourth in the Tatt’s Cup and third in the Bendigo Cup at his past two starts have put those thoughts on hold.
The winner of the 2007 Australian Derby and 2009 BMW, Fiumicino spent more than two years on the sidelines with injury, restricting his career to just 38 starts.