When Anthony Cummings has a horse he believes can compete against the best, the test often comes sooner rather than later.
And if Montaigne is as good as the trainer thinks he is, the colt should be mixing it with his more experienced rivals at the business end of the Hobartville Stakes.
Cummings is never one to shy away from a challenge and has pinpointed Montaigne as the next star to come out of a stable that has been missing a top liner since the retirements of Group One winners Fiveandahalfstar and Your Song.
Montaigne has been to the races three times, winning his past two starts, the most recent against older horses which confirmed his class and prompted Cummings to run him in Saturday’s Group Two Hobartville Stakes at Rosehill.
The 1400m race features Group One winners Press Statement, Vanbrugh and Dal Cielo who are all resuming with last-start Group Three winner Spill The Beans among the leading contenders.
“He is up in grade and back in distance from last time,” Cummings said.
“But if I had to name a horse I think can step up this autumn, then it would be him.
“He is still pretty new but he has a lot of improvement still to come.”
Punters are not too concerned about Montaigne’s relative inexperience with the colt supported from $11 to $9.50 although Caulfield Guineas winner Press Statement is the dominant favourite.
Montaigne is by Road To Rock who Cummings trained to Group One wins in the George Main Stakes and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
While he hopes Montaigne can reinforce his judgment of his ability, Cummings will also test the carnival credentials of several others in stakes races at the Rosehill meeting.
Two-year-old Pittsburgh puts his Golden Slipper hopes to the test in the Silver Slipper Stakes, Skyline Blush is the outsider in the Millie Fox Stakes featuring two of Sydney’s favourite mares, First Seal and Catkins and Alpha Beat lines up in the Parramatta Cup.
Cummings sent Pittsburgh to Hawkesbury where he won a barrier trial on Monday, pleasing his trainer with how much his race craft had developed since the most recent of his three starts in November.
“He is a big, strong colt and ran time without effort. He does have to improve against the horses he will face but he is going the right way,” Cummings said.
Skykline Blush’s form is better on wet tracks which she won’t get on Saturday while Alpha Beat is having his first outing in stakes company since he won the Adelaide Guineas almost two years ago.