Recording a maiden race win will be the autumn priority for luckless colt Cluster, who performed well without winning at the highest level of racing during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival.
Cluster started his spring campaign with an unlucky second place finish behind Va Pensiero in the Group 3 San Domenico Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens in August 17 and suffered interference when fifth in the Group 3 The Run To The Rose (1200m) on August 31.
The Fastnet Rock colt had no excuses when eighth in the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on September 14, but was hampered at the start when finishing a narrow third behind Divine Calling and Shamus Award in the Group 2 Stutt Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September.
Plenty went against Cluster when he finished tenth behind Long John in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 12 and he was sent to the spelling paddock without breaking through for a race win.
Trainer Anthony Cummings has always said that Cluster has the talent to win at Group 1 level, but told Sky Racing HQ yesterday that he will be setting his sights slightly lower with the three-year-old at the start of his 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
“He ran the Cox Plate winner to a head in his previous start at the Valley and his form is excellent,” Cummings said.
“His first port of call this time in will be a set-weight maiden somewhere to just break the duck and give the horse a bit of confidence.
“He is back and looks fine.”
Cummings is yet to decide which races he will target with Cluster during the autumn, if he is able to record his maiden race win, but revealed that the colt will likely be kept to sprint races rather than join stablemates Drago and Thunder Fantasy in events over a mile.
“He is probably going to be kept to the shorter course,” Cummings said.
“The first of those races that comes up is the Eskimo Prince, but that is probably a bit soon for him.
“There are plenty of opportunities for him as the autumn progresses.”
Cummings will be hoping that Cluster can follow in the footsteps of stablemate Fiveandahalfstar, who took 13 starts to break his maiden before going on to win the 2012 Victoria Derby (2500m).