Experienced gelding Gottino will make his debut over 2500 metres in the Rain Lover Handicap at Flemington on Saturday and trainer Dan O’Sullivan is excited to see how the six-year-old performs over the staying trip.
Gottino was beaten by Electric Fusion by five and a half lengths in the Western Health Cup (2000m) at Flemington on December 14 but was able to turn-the-tables on his rival and win the Byron Moore Handicap (2000m) in impressive fashion at the same venue on New Year’s Day.
The son of Johar will carry the top weight of 60kg in the Rain Lover Handicap, but is helped by the three kilogram claim of apprentice Patrick Moloney, and O’Sullivan believes that he will relish the step up in distance.
“He was good the other day; I wouldn’t have thought he would have been able to turn it around on Electric Fusion even though he had the weight,” O’Sullivan told RSN.
“Patrick will ride him this week so he will get a bit of weight relief again but he still jumps up a little bit in the weight.
“I am looking forward to seeing him over this distance.
“He has been crying out for it all this campaign and it will be exciting to see him get over this 2500 metres.”
O’Sullivan is chasing his second straight win in the Rain Lover Handicap after taking out the 2012 edition of the race with Tuscan Fire, who also recorded an impressive victory in the Byron Moore Handicap.
Tuscan Fire earned a start in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) by winning the Listed Mornington Cup (2400m), following his Rain Lover Handicap, victory and O’Sullivan has not ruled out following a similar path with Gottino.
“It is interesting because Tuscan Fire ran second in the race he ran second in, won on New Year’s Day and won the 2500 then went on to the Mornington Cup,” O’Sullivan said.
“It is in the back of my mind to keep going on that path but he has to keep on winning.
“If he keeps on winning we will keep raising the bar but we will get through Saturday first and see what we do after that.”
The Rain Lover Handicap has drawn a strong field of acceptances that includes Team Cummings-trained Reigning, Listed winner Crafty Cruiser, Bagot Handicap placegetter Angola and last start winner Instrumentalist.