South Australian trainer Sam Turner makes one of his rare visits to Melbourne with a lightly raced galloper aiming for a hat-trick.
Turner trains at Bordertown and while a regular visitor to Adelaide he will on Saturday make the 5-1/2 drive to Flemington with Sandhill Flash for the Kensington Stakes (1000m).
Sandhill Flash has won his past two starts in easier company at Morphettville and Turner believes the son of Written Tycoon is ready for the rise to Listed grade.
A winner of four of his 10 starts, Turner admits his visits to Melbourne are infrequent but believes Sandhill Flash has the ability to measure up.
“You’ve got to have the horse that is good enough,” Turner said.
“He’s done everything we’ve asked of him and just keeps taking the steps.
“He runs the first part of his races pretty quick, gets them off the bit, but whether he’s a genuine 1000-metre horse we’re yet to find out.”
Turner said Sandhill Flash had a big jump in the ratings following his last-start win at Morphettville on December 26 which forced him to look deeper into the calendar.
He said the Kensington Stakes looked a suitable race but it also gives him the opportunity to test the water for better races.
Turner said he will be guided by how the gelding runs on Saturday as to whether he presses ahead or gives the four-year-old a break.
“This will be his seventh run for the preparation,” Turner said.
“We’re out of whack with the carnivals so we’ll get Saturday out of the road, get back home and assess him from there.”
One concern Turner has is the prospect of a wet track with rain forecast for Friday and Saturday.
He said in Sandhill Flash’s 10 starts he is yet to race on a heavy track although he was placed at his only try on a slow track at Morphettville in November.
Amy Herrmann, Sandhill Flash’s regular rider, will be looking to breakthrough for her first win at Flemington having filled a place once from three rides at the track.
Sandhill Flash is currently a $21 chance in betting behind last-start Flemington 1000m winner The Quarterback.