Another benchmark race at Caulfield is the next step on a path towards a possible crack at a Group One handicap for Theanswermyfriend.
The four-year-old gelding finished second over 1100 metres at Caulfield first-up on August 19 and steps up to 1200m in another benchmark-78 race at the same track on Saturday from a wide draw.
A Group Three placegetter over 1600m at the end of his autumn campaign, Theanswermyfriend’s performances in his next two starts are likely to determine whether his campaign includes a crack at the the Group One Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes, a 1400m handicap at Caulfield on October 1.
“He goes from this race to a 1400-metre Listed race at Flemington and the outcome there will tell us whether that is a reasonable aim,” trainer Robert Smerdon said.
Theanswermyfriend is the $2.60 favourite for Saturday’s race and he has two gear changes with a cross-over nose band on for the first time and also a tongue tie.
“He’s in good shape,” Smerdon said.
“We’ve put a cross-over nose band on him.
“We’re happy to let him roll but when he gets racing a little bit keen and you go to steady him he just wants to get his head up and his mouth open.
“So we’ve put it on him in trackwork and he seemed more tractable. So we’ll see how he is under race conditions.”