Beaten Christmas Cup favourite in Melbourne on Saturday Lord Of The Sky could be given a chance to prove himself over 1400m after his jockey Vlad Duric tipped him as being better over a longer trip.
The Robbie Laing-trained Cranbourne galloper went out as the clear $2.90 top fancy in the $120,000 Emma Booth Christmas Cup (1000m), also known as the Doveton Stakes, at Sandown Racecourse on the weekend first-up.
It was the Danerich four-year-old’s first run in four months, before which he went down as the odds-on favourite twice in Melbourne on the back of an impressive four and a half length win over Le Bonsir in the Group 3 Sir John Monash Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on July 5.
In the Christmas Cup Lord Of The Sky was ridden by Duric from barrier five carrying the hefty 60kg top weight.
It proved too much for him to handle however as he only managed to finish one and three-quarters of a length away fourth behind the Jason Warren-trained favourite Danger Close ($7).
Laing was happy with his horse’s efforts with the big impost but admitted it was hard to know where to place him and in what races now, with a possible freshen-up on the cards before coming back to target the late summer sprints features.
“I thought he went super with 60kg into a very, very strong head wind,” Laing told TVN on Sunday.
“I don’t know where to go next, he’s a hard horse to place, but I was happy with him.”
One race Laing has been vocal about considering for the stallion next Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival is the $400,000 Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield Racecourse on Saturday February 28, 2015 on Blue Diamond Stakes Day.
Whether they target that sprint showdown or something longer however is yet to be decided after the post-Christmas Cup warp up from Duric suggested Lord Of The Sky would be better performed over 1400m.
Duric said the horse would get out to a comfortable lead in a 1400m showdown.
“(Then) give a good kick and we know he can carve off good sectionals,” he said.
The horse is yet to be tested over further than 1200m with the bulk of his racing having been done over 1000m, a distance four of his five career wins have been over.
If Laing does follow Duric’s advice in the autumn however and steps Lord Of The Sky out over more metres than a race like the weight-for-age $500,000 Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) on the same day as the Oakleigh could be considered instead.
Caulfield is also the galloper’s pet track as he’s won all five of his victories at the course leading Duric to forgive him his loss at Sportingbet Park on the weekend.
“I just think under the conditions, I’m prepared to forgive him,” he said.
“He still ran well and he will take good benefit from it.”