Eclipse Stakes winner Turnitaround is in line to back up in the $300,000 Listed Ballarat Cup for his first test at 2200 metres.
The winner of Saturday’s Group Three Eclipse (1800m) at Sandown, Turnitaround is among 28 nominations for the feature race at Ballarat a week later.
“At this stage we’re planning to go that way,” trainer Matthew Williams said.
“There’s actually not a lot of options for him with his rating getting up now. It’s either that or go to the paddock, really.”
The trainer had been looking at some summer races at Flemington but said with the gelding’s rating now at 104, he would to get around 61 or 62kg in non black-type races.
Warrnambool-based Williams said Turnitaround had pulled up well and after the 2016 Ballarat Cup he would probably give him a let-up before bringing him back for stakes races from late January.
If Turnitaround’s form warrants it, the Australian Cup in March is on the radar.
“He’s been down to the beach and had a couple of light days there but he’s come through Saturday’s run really well,” Williams said.
“He might have a little gallop later in the week.
“He’s had the three runs under his belt but the only thing I’d possibly prefer is for the race to be 2000 metres rather than 2200.
“If he settles the way he did on Saturday I don’t think the trip is a problem for him, but having one more run under his belt before going to 2200 might have been ideal.”
Hugh Bowman rode Turnitaround at Sandown but will not be riding at Ballarat and Williams said Blake Shinn would ride Turnitaround.
The Eclipse Stakes was Turnitaround’s eighth win from 34 starts and his frst at stakes level.
“I’d love to have a stable full of horses like him,” Williams said.
“He’s very genuine and every time he has a little break he just seems to come back and find another length or two. In the last 12 months you can tell he’s got a lot stronger and that probably helps him keep taking those next little steps.”
Rising Romance is the highest-rated horse among the Ballarat Cup nominations while Victoria’s premier trainer Darren Weir has entered five horses including Kyneton Cup winner Taiyoo and Saturday’s Eclipse Stakes third Lidari.