Ballarat trainer Archie Alexander expects drier tracks in Melbourne to bring the best out of Cups contender Young Rascal during the spring carnival.
Beaten Sydney Cup favourite Young Rascal, formerly trained by William Haggas, has won six of 12 career starts, including the Group 3 Manion Cup at Rosehill.
Alexander will take control of the five year-old gelding next month after OTI Racing secured a 50 per cent stake in the exciting stayer.
The Caulfield Cup (2400m) looms as the major spring target for Young Rascal.
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Young Rascal won the Manion Cup during the Sydney autumn carnival. Picture: AAPSource:AAP
“I'm not saying he’ll win the Melbourne Cup, but he’s good enough to run in the Melbourne Cup and Caulfield Cup,” Alexander said.
“You couldn’t judge him on (Sydney Cup) a heavy track over two miles (3200m), for me, if he's going to be anything he’s more a Caulfield Cup horse than a Melbourne Cup horse.
“On better ground, mile-and-a-half (2400m) he's going to be a really good horse.”
Alexander has not had a Cups runner since OTI Racing’s Lord Fandango finished fourth in the 2017 Caulfield Cup.
But Young Rascal, rated a $26 chance with TAB for the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup, has the potential upside to deliver the Group 2-winning trainer Alexander a breakthrough Group 1.
Haggas is expected to brief countryman Alexander on Young Rascal in coming weeks.
“He’s an exciting horse for the spring,” Alexander said. “Especially this year, it could be a very different looking spring if the Europeans don't get here.
Trainer Archie Alexander will target the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups with Young Rascal. Picture: AAPSource:AAP
“From a selfish Australian point of view it would be good if they couldn't get out here for a year (but) it's good for the sport if they can get out here.”
Young Rascal showed promise in England as a three year-old, winning the Group 3 Chester Vase before finishing seventh in the Epsom Derby.
“Any horse good enough to run in the Derby is a proper horse, but that was last year,” Alexander said.
“Horses can improve or stay the same, but horses (like Young Rascal) can really thrive down here when they get on cricket tracks, a different tempo (and) different training regime.
“You get some nice weather in the spring, it can really lift horses up.”
GRIFFITHS PLOTS TILT AT GUINEAS
Like the single malt Scotch whisky namesake, exciting sprinter-miler Glenfiddich will only get better with age, according to Cranbourne trainer Robbie Griffiths.
Still reeling after the narrow Group 1 defeat last Saturday in the Champagne Stakes at Randwick, Griffiths confirmed Glenfiddich would now be spelled for the spring and tilt at the Caulfield Guineas.
“One of the guys said ‘what was the margin’ and I said ‘Oh (about) five million (dollars),” Griffiths said.
A Group 1 would see $200,000 Magic Millions purchase Glenfiddich’s potential stud value skyrocket.
Glenfiddich was a brave second to King’s Legacy in the Champagne Stakes. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
“He’s run in the best races and just needed a bit more luck on Saturday and he’s a Group 1 winner,” Griffiths said. “He got beaten by a superstar in King’s Legacy, but it had to work hard to beat him.”
The son of Fastnet Rock owns a record of one win and three seconds from nine career starts.
It has not been without frustration, including a bungled start in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes and costly stargazing when hitting the front in Adelaide only to then get “beaten a whisker”.
He finally broke through to win at Mornington last month but then failed on a wet track in Sydney before the bold second to King’s Legacy.
“I’m really looking forward to him as a three year old,” Griffiths said.
“Fastnet Rock never won at two, he became a superstar at three … based on genetics he should really improve out of sight as a three year-old.”
MAHER FILLY SPARKS INVESTIGATION
Racing Victoria has confirmed a prohibited substance was detected in a blood sample collected from the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained racehorse, Piccatric.
The Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) report relates to a post-race blood sample taken from Piccatric after the filly won her 1427m at Sale on February 28.
RASL reported the blood sample contained the diuretic Frusemide, a prohibited raceday substance. Anti-bleeding medication Frusemide, which was detected in the reserve portion of the blood sample also, is used by veterinarians to prevent respiratory bleeding.
Piccatric has had four starts for one win.
The Fastnet Rock filly has not raced since finishing seventh at Morphettville on March 21.
Maher and Eustace were notified about the irregularity March 31 and on Monday Racing Victoria confirmed the “B” sample finding.
Stewards will continue the investigation.
Originally published asArchie confident Rascal will relish spring conditions
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