Consistent gelding The Big Steel has scored a timely win at Flemington ahead of next month’s Warrnambool Cup.
Trained by Matt Laurie, The Big Steel ($16) posted his sixth win in 17 starts in Monday’s RSL Plate, beating another Warrnambool Cup rival Tinamou by three-quarters of a length.
In doing so, The Big Steel foiled a betting plunge on Tinamou who was spectacularly backed from $31 to $15.
Gold In Dubai ($51) tried to lead all the way and battled to the line well in third place.
The Big Steel is unbeaten at Flemington having won there over 1800 metres on Oaks Day in November last year.
“It just shows he needs a big track,” Laurie said.
The Big Steel tracked Gold In Dubai all the way and as soon as the field for turned for home he looked as if he would win.
“You could see a long way out he was going to get there,” Laurie said.
“He is a horse who will keep winding up and doesn’t get there in a hurry.”
He said the extra distance should be ideal in the $150,000 Warrnambool Cup (2350m) on May 5.
“He has won over 2100 metres and obviously he can race on the pace so I think it will suit him,” Laurie said.
“He gets through slow going, maybe not real heavy, but it’s certainly worth the punt taking him down there.”
“It should be fun.”
Jockey Ben Melham likes The Big Steel as a Cup horse.
“He tries really hard and is a really strong staying horse,” Melham said.
He said he liked his adaptability in a race and his ability to switch off.
“You can press him out of the barriers and when you rest him he really comes off the bridle,” Melham said.
“He doesn’t spend an ounce more than he has to.”
However Melham has a number of horses to pick from for the Warrnambool Cup and is holding off on a commitment.
“I have got a few stayers going all right at the moment so I will have to weigh things up,” he said.