Trainer Grahame Begg hopes to keep raising the bar with lightly raced three-year-old Nonconformist on the back of the gelding’s recent dominant performance to break his maiden.
Nonconformist did his best work late for minor placings in his first two starts in maidens over 1200m at Pakenham and 1400m at Caulfield earlier in the summer.
He stepped up to 1600m for the first time at Pakenham on January 16 and raced away over the final 300m to win by six lengths.
Saturday’s John Moule Handicap (1600m) for three-year-olds at Caulfield is the next test for Nonconformist at a track where he could go to stakes level in the Group Two Autumn Classic (1800m) three weeks later.
“He’s a very progressive horse,” Begg said.
“He’s only had the three starts for two thirds and a win. He’s answered every question we’ve asked him so far.
“We’ve thrown him a bit in the deep end, jumping to a Saturday race at Caulfield but in saying that you don’t see too many maidens win by six lengths.
“So we’d like to run him at a mile again on Saturday and then to the 1800 and possibly to the 2000 metres and then I’ll put him away.”
Begg said he initially considered aiming Nonconformist at the South Australian Derby, which the gelding’s sire Rebel Raider won in 2009, but believes May is too far away.
“If we go only up to the Alister Clark or even the Autumn Classic, it’s only his first preparation so he’s done a good job to get as far as he has,” he said.
“He could then get eight or 10 weeks out which would be fantastic for him going into his next preparation.”