Sale trainer Frankie Stockdale is confident maiden Unique Quality will give Sepoy a race in Saturday’s Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington.
Although the gelding, by Elusive Quality as is race favourite Sepoy, is yet to win a race in three starts, he has showed a lot of promise running second and fourth to Hot Spin over 1000m at his first two starts, both at Caulfield in July.
But he really caught the eye with his third after showing dazzling speed to lead the ultimate winner Sepoy in the Group Two Danehill Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on September 3.
That effort encouraged Stockdale to set Unique Quality for the Group One Coolmore (1200m).
“He’s been a bit stiff a couple of times but they’ll know he’s there, that’s for sure,” Stockdale said.
“I gave him a little let-up since his last start for a couple of weeks and then brought him up again and he’s working solid and there’ll be no excuses on Saturday.
“He makes his own luck, he runs along a bit. You can’t ride him any different to that and he’ll most likely set the pace and he’ll be the one to catch.”
Peter Mertens again rides Unique Quality who drew barrier nine in the 10-horse field.
It is a big day for Stockdale as he’ll also saddle up I Feel Good, to be ridden by Brenton Avdulla, in the $1.5 million Victoria Derby (2500m).
Star colt Sepoy, the winner of nine of 10 starts, will jump from gate eight in his attempt to win his fourth Group One race in the Coolmore.
While beaten narrowly by stablemate Dysphonia in an 800m jumpout down the Flemington straight on Tuesday morning, his rider Kerrin McEvoy doesn’t really subscribe to the fact that Sepoy doesn’t go as well down the straight.
“He’s won two from two down the straight,” McEvoy said.
“There is a train of thought that he goes better around a bend but I’ll keep that in mind, take the race in the manner to negate all of those thoughts.”
The Anthony Freedman-trained Masthead, to be ridden by the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate-winning rider Craig Williams, will jump out of barrier one while Nash Rawiller’s mount Foxwedge came up with gate six.
Hong Kong-trained three-year-old Bear Hero, with Brett Prebble in the saddle, drew two with the Gerald Ryan-trained Hot Snitzel to jump from three.
Sepoy is the prohibitive $1.28 favourite with TAB Sportsbet while Unique Quality is at $26.