Adelaide trainer Will Clarken is dipping his toe into uncharted territory when he runs Mio Dio runs over 1400 metres at Flemington.
Previously trained by Wez Hunter and Ryan Balfour, Mio Dio will be having his 10th start for Clarken but his first start over the distance in Saturday’s Brian Beattie Handicap.
From his seven 1400m-starts, Mio Dio has recorded just one placing but Clarken views Saturday’s race as having positives.
Clarken says Mio Dio needs a fast pace, clear running and something to chase if he’s to be a chance.
For Clarken all boxes have been ticked.
“I haven’t stepped him to 1400 metres before because I think he’s a better chaser,” Clarken said.
“There appears to be good speed on Saturday which is ideal and he’s better when he can be bottled up and have one last run at them.
“He’s drawn 11, but he’ll be back and wide, which is perfect so he can get to the outside.”
Mio Dio achieved an early winter target in the Golden Topaz (1200m) at Swan Hill on June 9.
Clarken said he selected that race because of the spacious track and it’s long straight but ideally he would have preferred slightly wetter footing.
“It would have made us a bit more confident leading into the race had there been more give in the track,” Clarken said.
“But he’s still capable on firm ground as he was winning in the middle of summer last year.”
Clarken’s main concern is the presence of Tasmanian sprinter Tshahitsi who he thinks could be a spring performer.
“Tshahitsi absolutely annihilated his opposition last start and looks a really good horse to me,” Clarken said.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes on to the spring and becomes a really good horse.
“Saturday’s race has got a bit more depth than the Topaz but Mio Dio has always run well for me.”