Tackling a mile race first up is not usually a winning formula in Australian racing but according to recent history, the Carlyon Cup is bucking that trend.
The past three winners – Gailo Chop (2018), Avilius (2019) and Miss Siska (2020) – all resumed in the Group Three event.
Grahame Begg is hoping to make that four in a row at Caulfield on Saturday with Nonconformist.
Begg is also shooting for consecutive victories as a trainer after capturing the race 12 months ago with Miss Siska and he is confident Noncomformist can continue the recent strike rate of first-up winners.
“I was really encouraged by his trial at Geelong over a week ago on a Thursday where he finished off strongly to finish second behind Sir Dragonet,” Begg said.
“That was a good pointer that he’s in for a great campaign. He galloped well on Tuesday. He’s trouble-free and ready to go.”
Begg is setting Nonconformist for next month’s Group One $1.5 million Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington in preference to the All-Star Mile the following week.
“People are chasing the money but I’m happy to chase the prestige in the Australian Cup. It looks like a good year to aim for that race,” he said.
“He’s had two runs at 2000 metres for two wins. It’s a logical race for us to target.”
He said while barrier one wasn’t ideal for Nonconformist on Saturday, he envisaged the horse would settle in fourth or fifth place.
Noncomformist will be ridden by in-form jockey Jordan Childs and he is a $4.80 favourite with TAB fixed odds.
Last year’s winner Miss Siska is also in the race but she is now trained by Matthew Smith.
Begg confirmed his undefeated two-year-old filly Dosh, who will have her next start in the Blue Diamond Stakes, will be given an 800 metre jump out at Caulfield on Tuesday.