Rising trainer Saab Hasan is eyeing the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) with progressive gelding Shoreham who is set to compete in the Higgins And Dalziel Racing Handicap (1400m) at Caulfield this afternoon.
Shoreham started his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a narrow victory over Dany The Fox in the Listed The Sofitel (1400m) and indicated that he has returned as a four-year-old in excellent condition.
The Reset gelding was competitive at Group 1 level as a three-year-old, finishing third in the South Australian Derby (2500m), but Hasan said he is made the active decision to avoid races at the highest level in order to concentrate on the staying handicap events this preparation.
“I don’t want to bust his gut in a weight-for-age race, because I don’t think weight-for-age is his go yet,” Hasan told AAP.
“Even though he is a good horse we realise he has his limits.
“He is going to come into himself in the handicap staying races because he can show he can reel off unbelievable sectionals after 2000 metres.
“I’ve got a horse that can stay, a horse that is fit and a horse that loves Flemington.”
The Higgins And Dalziel Racing Handicap has drawn a strong field full of progressive stayers, with Shoreham on the fourth line of betting behind Don’t Get Excited, Mouro and Rhythm To Spare, but Hasan is confident that the four-year-old is good enough to record back-to-back wins for the first time in his racing career.
“He’s never let us down,” Hasan said.
“Even though he was wide the majority of the trip at Flemington, his sectionals were impressive.
“There were only four or five horses who broke 58 seconds for the 1000 metres that day and he did it sitting three wide.”
Shoreham will need to win a major lead-up race to guarantee himself a start in either the Caulfield Cup (2400m) or Melbourne Cup.
He has been allocated 50kg by Racing Victoria Chief Handicapper Greg Carpenter for both races and is currently 57th in the order of entry for the Caulfield Cup and 59th in the 2013 Melbourne Cup order of entry.