Trainer Mark Pegus hopes his decision to bypass the Warrnambool Cup and bring Sentimentalist back in distance pays off with a hat-trick.
After victories in the Stawell Cup and the VOBIS Gold Heath at Caulfield, Sentimentalist is aiming to add Saturday’s Neds Handicap (1800m) at Caulfield to his record.
Pegus had Sentimentalist entered in Wednesday’s Warrnambool Cup, but thought the rise to 2350m may eventually end the gelding’s preparation.
“If I went out to the 2350 metres, where do I go with him next,” Pegus said.
“I didn’t think he was in all that well at the weights either and it was going to be a tough race with Lindsey Smith’s horse (winner, Too Close The Sun) on his home track.
“Those things counted against him, so we’ve decided to come back to Caulfield.”
Sentimentalist came under Pegus’ care following the disqualification of fellow Stawell trainers Terry and Karina O’Sullivan on cobalt charges days before winning the Stawell Cup on April 12 and then scoring at Caulfield six days later.
“It was a bit of an awkward thing,” Pegus said.
“I didn’t have a lot of time to talk to Terry to find out much about him, but he’s pretty straightforward.
“You just have to watch what they do and work them out from there.
“He’s had issues in the past but I haven’t had to do anything special yet.”
Pegus has not planned any further than Saturday’s race saying it will give him a better guide as to where the gelding fits in the Melbourne ranks.
“I know he beat Mr Quickie the other day, but Mr Quickie didn’t have the right run and this might even be a little tougher,” Pegus said.
“He’s had a couple of nice gallops to keep him happy but it’s pretty hard to say whether he’s gone backwards or forwards.
“He’s a pretty keen worker on the track of a morning, so we’ve kept him up to the mark without doing too much.”