A Group Two race in Melbourne has won out over a Randwick Group One for Late Charge but the three-year-old is still in line for Sydney autumn carnival riches.
Late Charge is nominated for Saturday’s Randwick Guineas but will instead step to 2040m in Friday night’s Alister Clark Stakes at Moonee Valley with Vlad Duric aboard.
His performance will determine whether he heads north for the $2 million Group One ATC Australian Derby next month.
“We gave some consideration to the Randwick Guineas but the Alister Clark, although it’s still very strong, looks not quite as strong as the Guineas,” trainer Wendy Kelly said.
“And over 1600 metres they just tend to run along a bit quick for him.
“We’d like to see him over 2000 metres and if he handles it really well we’ll give strong consideration to heading up for the Derby.”
Late Charge heads into the Alister Clark after an Australian Guineas ninth placing at Flemington but the run had more merit than it may read on paper.
The colt was caught three-wide from barrier 12 and stuck to his task in the straight to finish within three lengths of the winner Shamus Award.
“It’s always hard when you don’t win races, but I was really happy with his run,” Kelly said.
“He was second-up in a tough, strongly run mile and was three-wide with no cover which was no fault of Vlad or the horse’s but it was just the way it worked out.
“He over-raced at a couple of points so to the horse’s credit, I thought getting beaten only 2.8 lengths was a really good effort.”
Late Charge is one of three Australian Guineas runners entered for the Alister Clark, along with Surge Ahead who finished sixth and Bardem who was 12th.