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The time is right for Menados to enter the stakes racing arena on at Flemington Saturday but Nigel Blackiston is already making long-term plans for the promising galloper.

Blackiston was pleased Menados had secured enough points to run in Saturday’s $150,000 Listed Winter Championship Final (1600m) which will bring to a close the lightly-raced gelding’s campaign this season.

The trainer is planning a light spring for the promising son of Zabeel but hopes he can be a bigger player in 2013.

“This race has always been the plan for him this preparation,” Blackiston said.

“We mapped out to have a crack at the Winter Championship at Listed level and it will give us a nice guide to some races down the track.

“He’s not going to have a hard spring but he’ll have a quiet let-up of two to three weeks in the stable after this and then we’ll pick out a couple of goals in the spring.

“If all goes to plan we’ll have a better autumn and then look to the spring next year.”

Blackiston’s highest profile galloper has been Littorio who claimed two Group Ones – the Turnbull Stakes and The BMW – and raced in the 2008 Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.

The trainer believes Menados – the first horse by Zabeel he has trained – has the scope to develop into a Cups-style horse next year if his talent can be nurtured.

“If he can continue to develop and improve I can see him being that sort of horse,” the trainer said.

“But he’s got a lot of levels to climb between now and then for that to happen.”

Menados, who is leased off his New Zealand breeders from Soliloquy Lodge, won his fourth race from six starts when he took out the Provincial Plate over 1600m at Flemington on June 23.

Steven King, who was on board last start, retains the mount in the Winter Championship and Blackiston is pleased with the gelding’s progress.

“I haven’t done a heap of work with him because I want to keep him a bit fresh for this,” he said.

“He’s staying at the mile and being a Zabeel he could possibly be looking for further now.”

The Winter Championship is the feature on `Finals Day’ at Flemington.

The meeting also includes the Listed All Victorian Sprint Series Final (1200m) and the Banjo Paterson Series Final (2600m).

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