Trainer Robert Smerdon is confident that progressive stayer Cooldini has the talent to be competitive in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at Royal Randwick during the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
Cooldini has not been seen at the races since he finished third behind De Fine Lago and Outback Joe in the Banjo Paterson Series Final (2600m) at Flemington on July 6 and will make his racing return in the Chester Manifold Stakes (1400m) at the same venue this Saturday.
Smerdon is not expecting much out of Cooldini over an inappropriate trip this weekend but is confident Cooldini can progress through the staying ranks to the 3200 metres of the Sydney Cup this campaign; electing to postpone a potential career over the jumps.
“He gives me every indication that he may well run the distance,” Smerdon told AAP.
“He hasn’t raced for six months so he has to work his way up there with a few lead-in runs.
“He’s capable of running a cheeky race fresh but he’ll be better suited as the races get longer.
“He’s qualified as a jumper but his flat form was good enough to pursue a decent staying race.”
Cooldini made his racing debut at Bendigo on October 31 in 2012 and recorded two wins from his first four starts; taking out the Melbourne Football Club Maiden (1600m) at Bendigo and the Dennis Hanrahan Handicap (2000m) at Caulfield on Boxing Day.
The Bernardini gelding started his autumn/winter campaign slowly, failing to fire in his first four starts, but showed his promise as a stayer with a credible tenth place finish in the Group 1 South Australian Derby (2500m) at Morphettville.
He returned to Melbourne and recorded a dominant twelve lengths victory in the San Remo Hotel Handicap (2400m) at Sandown on May 22 before scoring equally impressive wins in the Banjo Patterson Series Heat (2500m) at Flemington on June 8 and in the Banjo Paterson Handicap (2520m) at the same venue a fortnight later.
The Sydney Cup will be run at Royal Randwick on April 19 as part of The Championships and is now worth $500,000.
Smerdon is chasing his second win in the Group 1 event after taking out the 2000 edition of the race with Streak, who denied champion stayer Tie The Knot an historic third straight victory in the time-honored race.