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Image: Bruno Cannatelli
Skyphios is assured of a start in the Victoria Derby

Mornington trainer Rob Blacker may have his first runners in feature Group 1 races during the Melbourne Spring Carnival.

In a training career dating back to 1997, Mornington trainer Rob Blacker has only had one starter contest a Group 1 race.

That was emerging stayer Tigertiger in the Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick in April when heavy ground and a long campaign thwarted his hopes.

Blacker is hoping for dual representation at the Flemington Carnival this year after the success of Skyphios in the Byerley Handicap (1800m) at Flemington on Saturday assured him a start in the Victoria Derby (2500m) while Tigertiger is aiming for a tilt at the Melbourne Cup (3200m).

With Skyphios having a break before commencing his Derby campaign, Tigertiger is in work preparing for a start on Melbourne Cup Day.

If Tigertiger does not make the Melbourne Cup field, Blacker has the option of starting the stayer in the in the 2800m Benchmark 96 on the same day.

“The path we’ll take is we’ll have him in it (the Cup) and as long as I’m happy with him we’ll try and get in through the Geelong Cup which would be the race which defines which way we go,” Blacker said.

“There’s also the 2800-metre Benchmark 96 on Melbourne Cup Day which would be a lovely race for him, but we’re still a fair way off and I’ll make a decision in September.”

Blacker said having Tigertiger ready to peak on Melbourne, either for the Cup or the 2800m race, will give him options to start at Caulfield later in November.

The Group 2 Zipping Classic (2400m) and the Listed Sandown Cup (3200m), both at Caulfield, are options for Tigertiger.

“Having him ready to bounce for 2800 metres or the two miles on Cup Day, that gives us the option of, if he is flying, to look at the nominations for the Zipping Classic, worth a lot more money, and if they come up light, I can tailor him towards that,” Blacker said.

“Otherwise, he can go to the Sandown Cup at two miles, but if I drop him back to 2400 metres of the Zipping Classic, I could flex that with his last gallop.”

 
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