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His first trip south was anything but Alot Like Home for the Taree visitor.

Unaccustomed to traffic noise in confined spaces, the three-year-old had an anxious journey through the Sydney Harbour tunnel on Friday before progressing to the relative comfort of his temporary stable at Randwick.

“When he got the the tunnel it was a bit stop-start and he got a bit agitated. He settled down when he got used to the noise,” trainer John McLachlan said ahead of the three-year-old’s Sydney debut in Saturday’s Highway Handicap.

Encouraging maiden and class one victories at Taree and Coffs Harbour respectively this month convinced McLachlan to bring Alot Like Home to Sydney for his first experience of a track he could return to next year for the Country Championships final.

“He’ll have another couple of starts and then a spell. He’s the sort of horse who could have a go at the Country Championships,” McLachlan said..

The first goal is to justify an appearance on the rescheduled Sydney Cup Day card.

“His work’s good but he’s on a (seven-day) back-up so everything’s a bit of a test. The road trip was a test for him, the distance is a bit further too,” McLachlan said.

McLachlan, who has five horses in work, thought the slight step up in distance from last weekend’s win over 1315m was not too much to ask.

“He hit the line nice so we thought we’d step him up to the 1400 while he’s on fire,” he said.

Leading Sydney apprentice Andrew Adkins rides on Saturday while McLachlan has been able to gauge Alot Like Home’s progress from closer quarters than intended after his own trainee Melea Castle was injured in a car accident a month ago.

“I’m riding trackwork myself and he can be a difficult horse at times,” he said.

McLachlan had to cut his team in half as a result of the accident but his parents have arrived from Inverell to assist in the day-to-day running of the operation.

 
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