Talented entire Mr Chard will have the chance to book himself a start in the 2014 Epsom Handicap when he contests the Group 3 Cameron Handicap (1500m) at Newcastle on Wednesday.
Mr Chard returned to racing for the first time in over a year when he finished second in the Programmed Property Services Flying Handicap (1100m) at Morphettville and he finished a close second behind Tiger Tees in the Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on August 9 before returning to winning form in the Listed Rowley Mile (1600m) at Hawkesbury on August 21.
Trainer Tony McEvoy has been delighted with the form of the Al Samer entire since he joined his stable and he told TVN yesterday that he will run the seven-year-old in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Royal Randwick on October 4, if he performs strongly in the Cameron Handicap on Wednesday.
“I’m not sure if he’s a Group 1 horse still, but he’s working like he is and he’s been racing fantastically for me,” McEvoy said.
“He’d need to win this race pretty comfortably for me to consider an Epsom start.”
The Cameron Handicap has drawn a select field on only nine runners, with leading Sydney trainer Chris Waller set to have a third of the runners in the Group 1 event.
Vilanova returned to the races with a strong sixth in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on September 6 and is set to be Waller’s leading chance in the Cameron Handicap, while Danchai finished eighth behind Vilanova in the same race.
Rugged Cross returned to winning form at Rosehill Gardens on August 30 and he is set to return to Group level for the first time since he finished eighth behind Camelot in the 2012 edition of the Group 1 Epsom Derby (2423m) in Great Britain.
Local trainer Kris Lees has a strong hand in all the major races at Newcastle this weekend, with three runners in the 2014 Newcastle Gold Cup field, and he has included Slow Pace in the Cameron Handicap field.
Slow Pace is yet to record a win in his four race starts in Australia and suffered an injury when he finished at the tail of the field in the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) in Brisbane on May 17.
Australian Derby placegetter Hooked, Fred Cowell-trained Mighty Lucky, Queensland-based Billy Aucash and Anthony Cummings-trained Spy Decoder have also been included in the Cameron Handicap field.