Trainer Ben Ahrens fears the lack of genuine speed looms as a major obstacle confronting Spechenka in his Group Three Newcastle Cup dress rehearsal at Eagle Farm.
Ahrens has preferred Saturday’s brisbanetimes.com.au Handicap (2125m) as the final stepping stone to the Group Three Newcastle Cup on Thursday week for Spechenka following his last-start fifth at Doomben on August 20.
The six-year-old was also nominated for Friday’s Listed Wyong Cup (2100m).
“He was entered for the Wyong Cup and got 55.5 kilos but he was better placed here even though he’s got 58.5 kilos,” Ahrens said.
“I thought his first-up run was very good. He settled into his normal racing pattern which I wanted to see and they broke 35 seconds for the final 600 metres.
“He had to run a faster sectional as he was making good ground on the leaders even with 59 kilos.”
Regular work jockey Ben Cornell partnered Spechenka at his last outing but Ryan Wiggins will be aboard the son of Danachenka on Saturday.
“I haven’t had a good look at the field yet but there doesn’t look to be a lot of speed in the race which is a worry,” Ahrens said.
“Despite that I’ll still be disappointed if he’s not really competitive this time.”
Ahrens confirmed the Newcastle Cup would be Spechenka’s next assignment before the Group One Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick on October 1.
Ahrens won last year’s Group Three Summer Cup (2400m) at Randwick with Spechenka and is keen to test him over 3200 metres and hasn’t ruled out a tilt at the Melbourne Cup in November.
“He’s qualified for the Melbourne Cup after winning a Group race further than 2300 metres in the last 12 months,” he said.
“I wanted to run him in the Queensland Cup during the winter carnival but he wasn’t quite ready to go 3200 metres after winning the Caloundra Cup.”
Spechenka instead ran in the Listed Grafton Cup (2350m) but could manage only fifth to another Queenslander, Warrior Within.
Ahrens isn’t worried about a slow track for Spechenka.
“He doesn’t love the wet but he gets through it,” he said.
“A wet track would not be a benefit to him but it’s not a disadvantage either.
“But he’s not a mudlark.”
Spechenka has been nominated for the Group One Caulfield Cup (2400m) in October and will head to Melbourne if his Sydney form warrants it.
“The Caulfield Cup is a definite option but I don’t know how he’d go getting around Caulfield,” Ahrens said.