Tuscan Fire can crown a remarkable transformation and top the state’s horse premiership with his seventh win this campaign in the Australian Hurdle at Sandown.
Saturday’s feature is the five-year-old’s biggest test but he is in career-best form and trainer Dan O’Sullivan is confident he will run well again.
“He meets a good field on Saturday but we’re not scared of them but respectful of them,” O’Sullivan said.
The Australian Hurdle will be only Tuscan Fire’s fifth jumps start after winning twice at Ballarat, while he was also third over jumps at Oakbank and fourth in the Galleywood Hurdle at Warrnambool earlier this month.
He has been even more successful on the flat, following up Colac and Kyneton wins with two victories over 2400 metres at Sandown, the most recent last start by five lengths on May 23.
With six of his seven wins coming this campaign, the Australian Hurdle (3400m) is his chance to join Let’s Be Happy at the top of the horse premiership.
“He has come through his last run super and I’m really happy with him,” O’Sullivan said.
He said that this campaign Tuscan Fire had been trained specifically as a stayer and that he had successfully adapted to jumps racing.
“He started off this preparation a 60-rater but he’s won twice at Sandown since so he has come a long way in a short time,” O’Sullivan said.
“Last time in he was overracing a lot but he settles a lot better now.
“We started off being fair dinkum about making a stayer of him and, being more seasoned and more mature, the results are coming.”
O’Sullivan said the weight difference on Saturday against the better-class jumpers brought Tuscan Fire right into contention.
“Being a handicap, on the minimum (64.5kg) is a real advantage for him,” O’Sullivan said.
Brad McLean has ridden Tuscan Fire every jumps start and will be on him again on Saturday.