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Managing owner Darren Dance is still unsure what level untapped stayer Yogi can reach but is hopeful connections will be able to map out a plan after the gelding chases a hat-trick at Sandown.

The Darren Weir-trained Yogi has won his past two starts on Sandown’s Hillside track and on Wednesday steps up in distance and grade in the Ladbrokes Up For The Challenge Handicap (2100m) on the Lakeside circuit.

Yogi is still a work in progress but possesses a powerful finish which has been on display in recent wins over 1600m and 1800m.

He is the $2.15 favourite to win again.

“I think I said last time he’s a bit of a heart attack machine, this horse,” Dance said.

“You sit there and watch him and he’s out the back and he just doesn’t appear to be travelling or doesn’t appear to be interested.”

“You get a bit nervous because you need good tempo on and you need them to be able to run on and you need the best part of the track to be out in the middle somewhere.

“So a lot of things have to go your way.

“But he’s exciting when he’s in full flight. He just appears to have an extra gear and seems to be able to flatten out and really lengthen and hit the line.”

Dance, the owner of syndication company Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock, believes former New Zealander Yogi has improved his race craft as his preparation has gone on.

He is hoping to see further improvement in that department on Wednesday over a longer distance which might allow Yogi to be closer during the run.

“We’re not quite sure where he’s going to end up but at this stage we’ll just keep creeping through our grades and see where he takes us,” Dance said.

“We’ve deliberately had no discussions about his future and kept it fairly low-key.

“We didn’t think there was any point really setting any plans until he got his rating up to 80.”

Another win in the benchmark-78 would mean his rating would rise from 75.

“We can make a plan for him after Wednesday, if he wins,” Dance said.

Yogi is one of five favourites in a strong book of rides for Craig Williams who trails premiership leader Beau Mertens by four wins with six meetings remaining.

 
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