Trainer John Sargent is confident improving stayer Paragon can continue to defy his breeding and give him his second win in the Listed Queensland Cup at the Sunshine Coast.
The Sargent-trained Iggi Pop won the 2014 Cup which is run over the Melbourne Cup distance of 3200 metres.
A noted conditioner of stayers, Sargent boasts Group One wins in the Queensland Oaks (Quintessential), Australian Oaks (Gust of Wind), VRC Oaks (Kirramosa) and NZ Oaks (Miss Mossman).
Sargent is great believer in setting horses for races that suit their racing style.
Paragon is a case in point as he is by 2008 Blue Diamond Stakes winner Reaan out of a Rory’s Jester mare, Zejester.
His stoutness comes from Zejester’s dam’s side with her mother Zexzabeel by noted staying sire Zabeel.
“Paragon has won his only start at 3200 metres and raced well at 2400 . He is a real stayer,” Sargent said.
“I know he isn’t bred to stay but you have to set horses for races which suit them.”
Sargent started thinking about Saturday’s Queensland Cup when Paragon won a 3200m-race on the Beaumont track at Newcastle in August last year.
He sent Paragon north after the better stayers had returned home from the winter carnival and the gelding has run fourth in both the Ipswich and Caloundra Cups.
“Some of the other in-form stayers seem to have gone to the Grafton Cup so it isn’t the strongest 3200 metre race,” Sargent said.
“Paragon has been building up to the trip. He worked over 1600 metres on Tuesday morning and I was very happy with him.”
James Orman will take over from Jim Byrne who has ridden Paragon at his two Queensland starts but has elected to ride Soviet Courage for Chris Waller.
“James has impressed me with his riding style and attitude,” Sargent said.
Fellow Randwick trainer Peter Rob, who now trains Iggi Pop, has elected to send him for a break.
“I wasn’t 100 per cent happy with him after his last start in Sydney. I have sent him for a freshen-up as I didn’t think it was worth going north if he wasn’t ready,” Robl said.