Trainer Anthony Cummings is eyeing the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) with progressive gelding As Needed after he scored an impressive win in a benchmark 85 handicap at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
As Needed jumped from the gates well in the 1300 metre event and was positioned just behind the leader Society Man in the early stages of the race before he was for an extra effort by jockey James McDonald at the 350 metre mark.
The Stratum gelding hit the front with 200 metres left to run and pulled clear of the rest of the field to record a comfortable victory from Society Man and You’ll Never.
As Needed was having his first race start for a new team of owners, after previously being owned by Gooree Stud and Cummings was delighted to get a first-up win with the five-year-old and is confident that the promising galloper still has plenty of improvement left in front of him.
“He is a really nice horse and despite his age he is still improving,” Cummings told the media after the race.
“He was given quite a lot of time by the Gooree team and he is a good reflection of what those guys can do with a horse, but they elected to sell him and I am just thankful that I had some owners that wanted to pitch up for him and it is a good result for all.
“They have run a nice time and plainly there is a lot of improvement there.”
Cummings revealed that As Needed will have his next race start in another benchmark 85 handicap event at Royal Randwick on August 30 before making his debut at Group level in the Group 2 Tramway Handicap (1400m) at Royal Randwick on September 6 and a potential tilt at the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at the same venue on October 4.
“I think it is the logical thing,” Cummings said of the Epsom Handicap.
“He will be well down in the weights in the Epsom this year and I think that is the logical target for him for the Sydney spring and depending on exactly what his form is at the end of that we will see where he goes.”
As Needed is currently available at odds of $21 in 2014 Epsom Handicap betting markets.