Stayer and part-time hurdler Tuscan Fire, who won at the juicy odds of $101 at Flemington last month over 1400 metres, is moving into distances where he is most comfortable starting with Saturday’s Naturalism Stakes over 2000 metres at Caulfield.
His trainer Dan O’Sullivan said Tuscan Fire’s last three races over 1400, 1500 and 1600 metres respectively, were the ideal stepping stones for the longer distances in the major Cups races over spring.
The Mornington Cup winner, who has nominated for the Melbourne Cup, is a definite starter on Saturday after 30 horses were nominated for the Naturalism.
“This race will be hot with a lot of horses trying to qualify for the Caulfield Cup, so the pressure will be coming on early,” O’Sullivan said.
“We’ll decide how we ride after the barrier draw.”
Luke Currie, who rode the six-year-old gelding in last week’s Makybe Diva Stakes, has got the job again.
If Tuscan Fire, a $51 Caulfield Cup chance, can pull off a win O’Sullivan would target him for the Turnbull Stakes in a couple of weeks or otherwise head for the Benalla Cup.
“He’s in great order with improvement to come,” said O’Sullivan.
“He showed last prep that once he is fit, and up and racing, he can hold his form for quite a period of time.”
Among the entries for the Group Three Naturalism are last year’s first and second, Folding Gear and Mr O’Ceirin, the Mick Price-trained duo of Pakal and Bit Of Hell and Peter Moody’s foreign imports Ibicenco and Kesampour.