A trip to Melbourne with Poor Judge is on trainer Wayne Nugent’s agenda after the six-year-old runs at Doomben on Saturday.
The Toowoomba based Nugent abandoned Epsom Handicap plans for Poor Judge following the gelding’s first-up defeat at Eagle Farm on September 3.
Poor Judge runs in the Jim Beam Handicap (1110m) at Doomben with Nugent eyeing the Group One Emirates Stakes as a Melbourne target.
Poor Judge finished fifth to Anyways over 1200 metres at his second start for Nugent following his transfer from Norm Hilton.
“At first I was disappointed when he was beaten at Eagle Farm first-up but he’s pulled up well and has shown some encouraging signs since,” Nugent said.
“He loomed up but ran out of condition and that’s why he didn’t get to the line as strongly as I had hoped.
“The Epsom is off now as we’ve run out of time to get him ready but there’s a chance he could go to Melbourne if he runs well this time.
“He’d be in Sydney tomorrow for the Bill Ritchie if he was heading to the Epsom.”
Nugent has again decided to claim three kilograms on Poor Judge by engaging apprentice Ashley Butler who replaces fellow junior rider Brad Wallace.
A farrier by trade, Nugent believes Poor Judge’s opposition may prove too slick over the 1110 metres.
“I would have preferred it to be 1200 metres but you can only go with the cards you’ve got and dropping back in distance isn’t ideal,” Nugent said.
“He’s a year older now and is taking longer to come to hand so he’ll probably find this a shade short.
“I’ve got my bucket list goal for him which is for nothing to go past him in the straight and I want to see him finding the line strongly.”
Nugent has yet to finalise a Melbourne campaign for Poor Judge but the Group One Emirates Stakes (1200m) at Flemington in November is high on the agenda.
“I think he’ll run a lot better this time even though it’s only 1110 metres,” Nugent said.
“His coat has improved a lot since his last run and his demeanour is a lot better.
“I’m not sure he can win over this distance but will be happy if he runs in the first three.”
Poor Judge’s only other start for Nugent was when he finished last in the Listed Weetwood Handicap at Toowoomba in March shortly after moving from Hilton.
Under Hilton, Poor Judge won last year’s Weetwood Handicap and later earned a Melbourne trip, finishing third in the Group One Toorak Handicap at Caulfield before claiming the Group Three Chatham Stakes on a heavy track at Flemington in October.