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Independent Road and Exeter will begin their preparations in the Listed McKenzie Stakes at The Valley

With an arsenal of potential big race contenders, Lindsay Park has been forced to spread their three-year-olds to get their campaigns underway.

Independent Road and Exeter will begin their preparations in the Listed McKenzie Stakes at The Valley on Saturday with both entered for big races in the spring.

Both are nominated for October’s Caulfield Guineas and Lindsay Park co-trainer Tom Dabernig sees Saturday’s 1200m an ideal starting point.

It also serves the purpose of giving the pair a look at The Valley should the stable decide to run them in the Group Two Stutt Stakes on September 27.

Independent Road is yet to be tried at 1200m having had both his starts at 1400m, but Dabernig said the shorter distance was a better starting point.

“At the beginning of the spring, if you’re looking at a mile, you don’t want them getting to the trip too quickly,” Dabernig said.

“He’ll be given the chance of potentially going on a 2019 Caulfield Guineas, Victoria Derby path and a race like the Stutt Stakes on the way though might be suitable.

“He ran really good sectional times when winning at Flemington, so whether the 1200 metres is a bit sharp we’ll see, but we’ve purposely elected to start him off in this and have him fresh.”

Dabernig described Exeter as a lovely horse who had his two-year-old season cut short by a leg injury.

Exeter was scratched from the VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes at Flemington in March after winning at Sale at his third start.

“He sprained a fetlock. It was nothing more sinister than that,” Dabernig said.

“He had extra time in the paddock after showing good promise and looks to have come back bigger and stronger.

“The path we take with him is a bit undecided. We’ll see what he does on Saturday and work it out from there.”

The McKenzie Stakes has attracted 18 nominations including last-start Valley winner Condo’s Express, impressive Ballarat debut winner Leporem Star and The Lifeline, a first-up winner for Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott at Cranbourne.

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