A frustrating run of second placings has not dimmed trainer Melanie O’Gorman’s confidence in Suncraze ahead of his next attempt at a Highway Handicap win.
The three-year-old won on debut in the first month of the season and will now attempt to repeat the feat in the last month after filling the runner-up spot at his five starts in between.
Punters have not deserted him, with the gelding the $1.80 favourite for Saturday’s Highway Handicap for country trained horses at Warwick Farm.
At his only other start in a Highway race over 1100 metres at Randwick on May 27, Suncraze finished 1-1/2 lengths behind Clipper after being hampered early.
Last Saturday, the Matt Dale-trained Clipper went to Melbourne where she finished third in a three-way photo in a fillies sprint at Caulfield.
O’Gorman believes Suncraze, who was beaten a long neck at Newcastle on June 17, will be suited by even longer than Saturday’s 1200 metres and is eyeing a 1400m-race later in the month.
“That’s what I’m really aiming at with him, if he runs well,” O’Gorman said.
“I’m hoping to get into that race. There just hasn’t been any Highway Handicaps of that distance in the last six weeks. I’ve always said I think he’ll really benefit from distance, 1400 or a mile.”
A Highway race over 1500m at Rosehill on July 29 also appeals as O’Gorman maps out the future for Suncraze.
“The form around him suggests that he’s up to it,” she said.
“The horse that beat him at Newcastle the other day (Cosmic Engine) came out and won again too.
“Suncraze is racing consistently and doing a good job. He’s a young horse that’s lightly raced, I’m sure his day will come.”
Corey Brown rides Suncraze who O’Gorman said would be unfazed by the soft track.
“He won on a heavy and the draw (6) isn’t an issue as he’s a backmarker and Corey is in-form,” she said.
“He’ll get back and hopefully there’s enough pace so he can finish off strongly.”
O’Gorman, who focuses mainly on pre-training, moved from Scone to Tamworth last year.
“I’ve only got five or six racing,” she said.
“Most of my time is spent getting horses prepared for the (Inglis) Ready 2 Race sale in October.”