A step up to 1800 metres at Flemington will tell trainer Steve Richards whether it is worth persevering to the Victoria Derby with Sunquest.
But a lacklustre run may persuade Richards to freshen the three-year-old for a shot at another stakes race on Derby day.
From the outset Richards has considered Sunquest a Derby prospect and has seen nothing to alter those thoughts ahead of Saturday’s Listed UCI Stakes (1800m) at Flemington.
To date Sunquest remains a maiden but Richards is not concerned.
He’s now into his third preparation, lining up for his eighth start, and Richards is delighted with his progress.
“He was never going to be a two-year-old so we gave him a run early for some education and then put him away,” Richards said.
“We thought he might be a (VRC) Sires’ horse in the autumn but he went shin sore after a couple of runs so we turned him out.
“I’ve thought all along that he was a Derby horse and his whole preparation has been aimed that way and without winning a race all his runs have been good.”
Richards elected to bypass the Victoria Derby Trial on September 27 saying the colt wasn’t ready for 1800m that day.
Instead he raced over 1600m at Caulfield four days earlier.
He finished second to Cliff’s Edge, an opponent on Saturday, with Richards convinced the big striding colt is much better off at Flemington.
Richards will put a tongue tie on Sunquest saying the colt plays with his tongue and gets his mouth open which has been rectified in trackwork.
If he continues on a Derby path, Sunquest will run in either the Caulfield Classic (2000m) or The Vase (2040m) at Moonee Valley, but if the 2500m of the Derby looks too far he will be freshened for a shot at the Carbine Club Stakes (1600m).