Shoreham, the flagship horse in Saab Hasan’s small Flemington stable, is being aimed at the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups, but not at all costs.
The four-year-old gelding has been consistent in strong company all year including a Group One third in the South Australian Derby. He won the Listed Sofitel Stakes at Flemington earlier this month.
Shoreham’s durability will be tested on Saturday in the Roy Higgins and Wylie Dalziel Racing Handicap (1400m) at Caulfield, where he meets horses of the quality of Don’t Get Excited, unbeaten in his past four starts and the Michael Moroney-trained Rhythm To Spare, who has won three of his past five starts.
“He’s never let us down,” Hasan said.
“Even though he was wide the majority of the trip at Flemington, his sectionals were impressive.
“There were only four or five horses who broke 58 seconds for the 1000 metres that day and he did it sitting three wide.”
Shoreham began his career in the Lloyd Williams camp and came to Hasan after being sold at Williams’s annual dispersal of racing stock.
Under Hasan, Shoreham has partially qualified for the major Cups with his Southern Australian Derby placing but needs to move further up the order of entry.
Hasan recognises the gelding has to put in a lot more miles before he can be considered a real Cups threat.
“I don’t want to bust his gut in a weight-for-age race, because I don’t think weight-for-age is his go yet, even though he is a good horse we realise he has his limits,” Hasan said.
“He is going to come into himself in the handicap staying races because he can show he can reel off unbelievable sectionals after 2000 metres.”
However, he says making the Melbourne Cup is not the “be-all and end-all” for Shoreham.
“But I’ve got a horse that can stay, a horse that is fit and a horse that loves Flemington,” he said.