A possible Melbourne Cup campaign is on the cards for Outback Joe if the emerging stayer can produce another winning performance in the $80,000 Tile Importer Handicap (2400m) at Caulfield tomorrow.
Outback Joe is lining up at Caulfield as one of the favourites after winning the Listed $150,000 Bagot Handicap (2800m) at Flemington on New Year’s Day with Blackiston’s long term aim to qualify the six year old for the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington in November.
“If I can qualify him for the Melbourne Cup the owners will be very happy,” Blackiston told the Sportsman.
“If we can get qualified before the Spring starts it makes the job easier. The Adelaide Cup is a bit closer but Sydney is worth a million dollars.”
Blackiston also has his eyes set on running Outback Joe in the Group 1 $1m Schweppes Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick on April 19 and was almost tempted to run him in the Listed $100,000 Vili’s Pies Australia Day Cup (2400m) at Randwick this weekend.
“It was a nice suitable race in own back yard, if Sydney have had been worth a bit more prizemoney I might have been persuaded to take him up,” Blackiston said.
“Hopefully we will be up for the Sydney Cup in a few months time.”
Outback Joe would have to be one of the most improved gallopers in Blackiston’s stable with the Flemington trainer securing three wins and four placings since he took over the training of the Elvstroem gelding in February last year.
The improved results can be put down to the increase in distances with wins over 2200m, 2400m, and his last start Flemington win over 2800m.
“When I got him he was rated 53 and running last at Albury and I thought ‘what can I do here’,” Blackiston said.
“But he’s been amazing and just improved and improved. I think he will be even better over two miles.”
“He’s bright and well and trained on nicely, whether Caulfield suits or not we’ll find out but he is going terrifically.”
If Outback Joe performs up to expectations tomorrow, Blackiston could have two strong contenders heading to the Sydney Autumn Carnival with his other improved stayer Let’s Make Adeal being aimed towards the Group 1 $2.25m The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill on April 5.
Let’s Make Adeal just missed out on a run in last year’s Melbourne Cup after running second to Ruscello in the Group 3 $300,000 Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington on November 2 and then followed that up with a third to Precedence in the Group 3 $300,000 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) at Flemington seven days later.
Blackiston has picked out the Group 2 $220,000 Carlton Draught Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on February 22 as Let’s Make Adeal’s first Autumn Carnival appearance.