Trainer Peter Snowden has revealed that Cluster is no certainty to take his place in the 2014 Show County Quality field at Royal Randwick on Saturday because of the heavy track.
Cluster joined the Team Snowden stable in the autumn and has recorded two wins from as many starts for his new trainers; recording a dominant nine and a half lengths at Kembla Grange on June 28 and a strong win over Rock Sturdy in the Forum Group Handicap (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on July 19.
Snowden elected to throw Cluster in the deep end at Group level in the Show County Quality field, but is unsure that whether he wants to test the Fastnet Rock entire on the expected heavy track in the Group 3 event this weekend.
“The rain is so haphazard; some areas are getting it and some are missing it,” Snowden said,
“I guess it really depends on what happens to Randwick on how the track will finish up.
“I’m keen to run him, even though he’s badly weighted against horses like Terravista and Ninth Legion, but he does have a fitness edge on his side as most of these are first-up.”
Cluster will be returning to Group level for the first time since he finished tenth behind Long John in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival and Snowden is eyeing a return to Group 1 level for the four-year-old.
The Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) was originally the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival target for Cluster, but Snowden is unsure whether the promising entire is capable of running a strong mile and will instead set Cluster for the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on September 28.
“That’s the race we’re setting him for, the Group 1 over 1400 metres at Caulfield,” Snowden said.
Cluster is currently available at 2014 Show County Quality odds of $5 and is on the second line of betting from clear favourite Terravista ($2.70).
Snowden is chasing his second win in the Show County Quality after winning the 2011 edition of the race with Skytrain and finishing second with Pinwheel in 2010.
Team Snowden have a strong trio of runners at Royal Randwick tomorrow; with Shooting To Win set to defend his unbeaten record in the Group 3 Up And Coming Stakes (1200m) and Gypsy Diamond the favourite to win the Group 3 Toy Show Quality (1300m).