A Melbourne run on ANZAC Day this Tuesday will help Cranbourne horseman Greg Eurell determine the JJ Atkins 2017 potential of his lightly-raced colt Casino Fourteen.
The son of Casino Prince is one of eleven remaining chances in the $120,000 Listed ANZAC Day Stakes (1400m) after the early scratching of All Eez and Blackburn from the two-years-old race at Flemington.
Drawn in barrier six, now into five, Casino Fourteen has just his second career run in the handicap black-type.
On debut he enjoyed a one and three-quarter length win at Echuca after leading all-the-way in the $20,000 Share Media Big Screen Hire Maiden Plate (1200m) with Ms Nikita Beriman in the saddle.
It was an impressive victory under 58kg from a wide barrier 13 of 13 draw and one Eurell is hoping the young horse can emulate in stakes class on Tuesday.
“This race was perfect timing to bounce from that Echuca race into this,” Eurell told AAP.
“I think as he steps up in distance he’s going to be better suited.
“The horse has come through his win really well and leads into this a very fit horse. And certainly the nice big track at Flemington is going to suit him.”
The up-and-comer will relish a better draw and drop back to a more manageable 55kg in the ANZAC Day Stakes with Craig Williams returning from suspension for the ride.
Current ANZAC Day Stakes markets on Flemington Race 4 have seen a big shift on Casino Fourteen who has been backed in from $9.50 to $6.50 through Ladbrokes.com.au.
Clear race favourite remains Merchant Navy at around $2.20 for the Ciaron Maher-trained Fastnet Rock colt to remain undefeated with a third win from as many career starts.
Maher won the race last season with Throssell (2016) who came off a winning debut the run before at Bendigo.
All going well this weekend and in the coming weeks, Eurell is hoping to target the final elite level race for two-year-olds of the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival up north.
“It depends on what he does tomorrow, but he may have the opportunity to head north after this,” he said.
“If he happens to win well and looks like he can take that next step then he could go to Brisbane.”
Eurell has the $600,000 Group 1 BMW Australia J.J. Atkins (1600m) over the Eagle Farm mile on Stradbroke Handicap Day, Saturday June 10, as a potential target.
“That’s a race possibly on the radar for him,” he confirmed.
“He’s as strong as an ox. And to look at, he looks more like a four-year-old.
“He’s had raw natural ability and sometimes these big horses take a bit to mature and educate but to his credit he’s come to hand very well.
“Whatever he does now though is a bonus. The style of horse he is, he’ll make a better three and four-year-old.”
Peter & Paul Snowden’s Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes runner-up Pariah leads the current all-in J.J. Atkins markets at bookmakers around the country.
The Group 3 winning Redoute’s choice colt is followed by the likes of the Kiwi youngster Qiji Phoenix who saluted at Ellerslie over the weekend earning a trip across the Tasman with his Queensland Derby-bound stablemate Tavidream and the Gary Portelli-trained Single Bullet.
The J.J. Atkins nominations, along with all the other Group 1 majors of the Brisbane winter, close on Wednesday May 3, 2017.