David Charles hopes impressive debut winner Esperance can live up to the expectations placed on him from outside the Godolphin stable when he runs at Sandown.
Charles, who is In charge of the Melbourne operation for Godolphin’s Australian trainer James Cummings, said the performance of Esperance in Wednesday’s Sheamus Mills Bloodstock Handicap would give the stable a better indication where the three-year-old is placed.
Esperance scored an impressive eight-length win in maiden grade at Echuca last month, giving Cummings his first Victorian winner since he took over early in July.
The gelding has been installed the $1.40 favourite to remain unbeaten and such is the hype surrounding him, he is an $11 equal second pick behind $7 favourite Royal Symphony for the Caulfield Guineas on October 14.
Some form students have rated Esperance’s Echuca victory as the highest individual performance by a two-year-old last season.
Charles is hoping they are right, but wants to see him repeat the performance.
He is being realistic, saying lining up an Echuca maiden win against a Golden Slipper victory is a huge step.
“He hasn’t gone backwards,” Charles said.
“It’s a step up in grade from an Echuca maiden to a midweek race at Sandown and I guess we’ll find how good he is in about 1 minute ten (seconds), or one minute 11.
“It might be a long one minute 11 to see where he’s at.”
Esperance will be the first ride back from holiday for Craig Williams, who will be chasing a seventh jockeys’ title this season.
Williams beat apprentice Beau Mertens to claim the premiership and took a break after riding Shamport to victory at Caulfield on July 29, a meeting cut short because of strong winds.
It will be a quiet return for Williams who is also booked for Wassergeist in the Chief’s Hat Maiden Plate and emergency Dancing Hare in the Win A Car At Highways Handicap.
Williams is the $1.60 favourite to win the 2017/18 premiership ahead of Dwayne Dunn and Damian Lane at $6.50.