Sheer Madness will take his next step towards a possible Victoria Derby start when he contests a midweek race at Sandown.
A last-start winner over 1400m at Flemington, Sheer Madness runs in the Dream Thoroughbreds Handicap (1500m) on Wednesday.
Frank Salanitri, a part-owner of the three-year-old and racing manager for his brother John, said Wednesday’s outing was part of the grounding work in the lead-up to November’s Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington.
Despite Sheer Madness drawing widest in the field of eight, Salanitri isn’t fazed.
“He’s a big, loping three-year-old, so it’s not a big disadvantage with the wide gate if he can find a spot one-out, three-back somewhere,” Salanitri said.
While the Derby is the ultimate goal for Sheer Madness, there are a couple of checks and balances along the way the gelding needs to pass.
“We’re gradually building him up to hopefully get him to that Derby journey and we’ll get a guide to that in the Derby trial,” Salanitri said.
“That will make up our minds whether we press on or turn him out but he’s given us the impression all along that he’s wanting ground.”
Salanitri said his brother had always felt the three-year-old wanted at least 1600m, even when he contested the Blue Diamond series as a younger horse.
Whether November’s Derby will come too soon for Sheer Madness will be decided after his next couple of starts which will include a 1500m three-year-old race at Moonee Valley on September 9.
“The Derby journey, that’s another question,” Salanitri said.
“They’re still babies, finding their feet, so we’ll get that guide after the Derby Trial how far we take him.”
Sheer Madness holds narrow CrownBet favouritism at $3.10 for Wednesday’s race over the Lindsay Park-trained Mutamayel at $3.20.