Trainer Gabrielle Englebrecht has confirmed that the 2016 Royal Randwick Guineas will be the major autumn target for promising colt Cannyescent.
Cannyescent made his racing debut with an impressive victory in the Australian Stockyard Company Maiden (1200m) at Goulburn on August 4 and he stamped himself as a horse to follow when he raced well without a great deal of luck in the Group 3 Up And Coming Stakes (1300m) at Royal Randwick on August 22 and the Group 3 Ming Dynasty Quality (1400m) at the same venue on September 5.
Englebrecht told Sky Racing HQ that Cannyescent would start his autumn preparation in a Benchmark Handicap over 1100 metres at Royal Randwick on Australia Day, but she is confident that the Canny Lad will be looking for more ground by the time he gets to the Group 1 Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) at Randwick on March 5.
“I think that he would like a mile, which is why we are aiming him up at the Randwick Guineas,” Englebrecht said.
“I would like to think that he could run beyond that, but until we get him up to that mark it is a bit hard to say.
“We are starting off in an 1100 metre there on Australia Day and there is no doubt he will run quite well over that distance fresh, but once he gets into his prep he will be looking for around that mile mark.”
Cannyescent has been back in work for a couple of months and he made his first public appearance of his preparation with an eye-catching performance to finish fourth behind Blue Diamond Stakes winner Pride Of Dubai, Dark Eyes and Caulfield Guineas winner Press Statement in a barrier trial over 838 metres at Royal Randwick on Tuesday.
The three-year-old hit the line strongly in the final stages of the barrier trial and Englebrecht said that she could not be happier with the condition of her star galloper at this stage of his preparation.
“I am over the moon with him,” Englebrecht said.
“He is probably a little bit more inexperienced and immature compared to a lot of those horses and he just keeps improving.
“Each prep you hope they come back a little bit better and stronger, but until you get them back in that competitive environment than you don’t know.
“I was just in awe of him.”