The in-form Tuff Host can advance his claims for his home-track Cup when he steps up in distance at Caulfield.
Trained at Mornington by Brett Scott, Tuff Host won over 1200m on home turf on December 27, his first start for 18 months after undergoing throat surgery.
The six-year-old then added a city placing over 1400m at Caulfield before a strong 1600m-win at Moonee Valley last month.
Scott has been thrilled with the way the gelding has come back and is looking forward to Tuff Host stepping up to 2000m in Saturday’s Ian Miller Handicap at Caulfield.
Tuff Host is the $3.20 favourite while stablemate Schockemohle is at $7.50.
If Tuff Host continues to perform well, Scott will aim him at the Mornington Cup (2400m) on April 2.
“We’re looking at the local Cup for us. The owners would love that and obviously the home-track advantage is always good and he’s always raced well at Mornington,” Scott said.
“We’ll get through this run and then plot a course into that.”
Schockemohle filled the minor placing in a benchmark race over 2040m last start at Moonee Valley on the same day Tuff Host won over 1600m.
This month’s Launceston Cup (2400m) is a target for Schockemohle if his performance at Caulfield warrants it, although Scott favours Tuff Host as the stable’s leading chance on Saturday.
“They do all their galloping together and going into Moonee Valley Tuff Host was working the better out of the two and that’s the case again,” Scott said.
Scott said he wasn’t really expecting Tuff Host to perform as well as he did over the shorter trips but knew he was in for a good campaign when he won first-up.
“He’s just shown that he’s come back a lot more mature and stronger horse and he really wants to find the line,” Scott said.
“I’m pretty happy to see him back at 2000 metres tomorrow.”