With the benefit of hindsight and a long-range weather forecast, Victorian-trained Survived would have made his Sydney debut well before his assignment at Randwick.
Trainer Archie Alexander admitted as much ahead of the seven-year-old’s appearance in Saturday’s 2400m-benchmark race,
“We probably should have campaigned him in Sydney for the whole summer because you’ve had all the rain,” Alexander said.
Survived has run the bulk of his 45 races on good or soft tracks so the rain-affected surface at Randwick suits a horse heading to Sydney off a fourth in the Albury Gold Cup (2400m) on heavy ground.
“He’s in good form. You’d have to say he’ll be competitive. He’ll like the distance, and the going,” Alexander said.
The trainer has booked claiming apprentice James Innes Jnr to take 2kg off Survived’s allocated top weight of 59kg.
Survived had a 23-day gap between his second in a benchmark race at Sandown and the Albury Gold Cup on March 24, although not intentionally.
“You set a program but it doesn’t really work the way you want it because you pick the race and all of a sudden it becomes a good (3) so you can’t run him,” Alexander said.
The Englishman, who has established a training base at Ballarat, said he hoped to bring more runners to NSW.
“We’d always be keen. It’s just trying to find the right horse and the owners willing to travel with one,” he said.
Alexander conceded he was also finding his bearings for road trips.
“Where do you stay, when do you feed them? All those little things that senior trainers have been doing for years,” he said.
“As a young trainer you have to learn what suits you best.”
That process could be on track given three-year-old filly Wheal Leisure ran fifth in her Group One debut in the Australian Oaks at Randwick on April 8.
“That’s given us a bit of confidence that we’re doing the right thing,” Alexander said.