Flemington trainer Saab Hasan is realistic enough to know that it is a long way from the first Saturday of May in Adelaide to the first Tuesday of November in Melbourne.
But he’s also ambitious enough to dream.
Hasan will saddle up emerging stayer Shoreham for the first time at Group 1 level in Saturday’s South Australian Derby (2500m) but he certainly isn’t afraid of looking at the even bigger picture.
“Dreams are made on the racetrack. We’re chasing a dream and if he can win this weekend we won’t shy away from aiming him at a Melbourne Cup,” Hasan told horseracing.com.au.
Shoreham will start as one of the favourites in Adelaide’s biggest three-year-old race after dishing out a 3 1/2 length walloping of his rivals in the Listed Galilee Series Final (2500m) at Flemington on April 13.
Hasan knows it is a steep rise in class in the Derby but said his most recent performance combined with an ideal barrier three draw are reasons to be confident.
“He didn’t beat a lot but it was the way he won,” he said.
“We couldn’t have scripted it any better, drawing an inside alley. Hopefully he can box seat all the way and the gap will come at the right time.”
While this weekend’s $500,000 staying race is the son of Reset’s first step beyond Listed level, it has been a long time coming.
After Shoreham won as a two-year-old in June last year, Hasan had the Victoria Derby in mind, working hard alongside jockey Brad Rawiller in teaching the gelding to settle.
A virus ruled him out of the spring but he showed soon into his autumn preparation that his future lies firmly in the staying ranks.
“When he won a race at Flemington over 1400m last June on a Slow 7 he really blew them away. After that I clearly stated he could be a Derby horse,” Hasan said.
“Brad Rawiller and I have done a lot of work teaching him to settle and we were originally aiming him at the Victoria Derby but he contracted a virus and that was the end of that campaign.
“Because of the virus when we brought him back we were going to aim at the Bendigo Guineas but he really showed us that he wanted to stay.”
Shoreham has won on both good and slow tracks but Hasan is hoping for some autumn rain this weekend to dent the chances of some his competitors.
“He’s won on a Good 3 but he really gets through the ground so a rain-affected track would certainly be an advantage,” he said.
Shoreham is currently a slight $3.70 favourite ahead of fellow Victorian Hvasstan ($4) and local hope Hicotdane ($4.40).