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Trainer Matt Cumani says Nobel Heights will need a smart ride to win first-up at Sandown

The connections of Nobel Heights are a little different to most with a promising stayer on their hands as they have elected to bypass the major spring handicaps.

Having shown staying ability when third in the South Australian Derby in May, it would have been expected Nobel Heights would be among nominations for the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup.

But when entries closed last month, Nobel Heights was not on the lists.

Nobel Heights commences his spring campaign in the MRC Super Box Handicap (1800m) at Sandown on Wednesday with trainer Matt Cumani looking to lesser spring staying options for the four-year-old.

“He’s a lovely horse and has come on a lot from his last preparation and hopefully he’s ready to take that step from three-year-old grade to open age as a four-year-old,” Cumani said.

“But we haven’t put him in any of the big races this preparation because he’s only got a rating of 69 so we’ll take it a step at a time.

“We hope to have him in a nice race during the carnival, but not one of the majors, so we’ll let him take us through and hopefully in the autumn or in the spring of 2022 is when he might be potentially a Cups horse.”

Nobel Heights scored over 1600m at Sandown when resuming in March and while the 1800m on Wednesday might appear a bit of a better trip for a resuming stayer, Cumani is wary.

“It’s one of those tricky distances that could be too short for him,” Cumani said.

“He could get caught for speed but if they go too slow and they sprint, he might get left flat-footed as he’s a genuine stayer.

“And then if he’s asked to do a lot early on, it might prove a bit tough for him being first-up without having a trial or a jump-out, so we need to make sure we ride him cleverly.

“We need to be positive about the gate and hopefully not lead but then get into open air to get rolling.”

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