Epsom Handicap hopeful Lanciato will kick off his 2018 Everest Carnival campaign in the Group 2 $200,000 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Trainer Mark Newnham can see the field of smart sprinters being too slick for Lanciato over the 1200m at weight for age but will be happy to see the six year old doing his best work over the concluding stages of the Missile Stakes.
“He is a horse who is best fresh but this is his first test at weight-for-age,” Newnham told AAP.
“He is coming up really well and this race race suits heading towards the Epsom Handicap.
“It gives him four weeks to the Tramway and four weeks to the Epsom. We have learned that he loves a space between runs and it wouldn’t surprise me if he ran really well.
“The Epsom third-up suits him and the timing of the Missile is right for him.”
Newnham has also pencilled in the Group 2 $200,000 Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on September 1 before he lines up four weeks later in the Group 1 $1m Epsom (1600m) at Randwick.
“The Missile will be his biggest test first-up but with the Epsom as his goal we will stick to the program,” Newnham said.
Lanciato will be having his first run back since finishing seventh to Happy Clapper in the Group 1 $3m The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick on Day One of The Championships on April 7 during the 2018 Sydney Autumn Carnival.
The six year old gelding had worked his way up through the grades during the Autumn and scored a hat trick of wins with victories in a 1400m BenchMark 94 Handicap at Randwick, in the Listed $150,000 Carrington Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill and in the Group 3 $150,000 Newcastle Newmarket Handicap (1400m) at Newcastle.
Pre-post betting for the Missile Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au has Lanciato marked as one of the outsiders of the field at $16 while in the Epsom Handicap he is marked as a $26 chance.
The James Cummings trained Kementari heads the Missile Stakes betting at $2.25 ahead of Pierata at $5 and stablemates Egyptian Symbol and Music Magnate at $6.
Kementari will race as a four year old for the first time in the Missile Stakes after being one of the star three year olds during the Autumn Carnival with a win in the Group 1 $1m Mostyn Copper Group Randwick Guineas (1600m) at Randwick.