Mr Utopia is set to contest the 2015 Sandown Stakes this weekend and trainer Robert Smerdon has revealed that the tough gelding could return to Perth for the Railway Stakes if he performs well in the Group 3 event this weekend.
Mr Utopia started his racing career in Perth in November of 2012 and he progressed through the grades before he claimed his maiden black type win in the Listed Amelia Park-York Stakes (1600m) at Ascot in April of last year.
He was transferred to the care of Robert Smerdon after the 2014 Perth Summer Racing Carnival and he made his Melbourne racing debut with a fast-finishing win over Boomwaa at Flemington on April 25 before he was only narrowly denied by Amovatio in the Listed Winter Championship Final (1600m) at Flemington on July 11.
Mr Utopia failed to fire in both the Listed Caulfield Village Handicap (1200m) on October 14 and the Group 3 Guvera Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on October 31, but Smerdon told Racing.com that the Elusive Quality gelding could be given a maiden opportunity at Group 1 level in the Railway Stakes if he performs well in the Sandown Stakes this weekend.
“He might even hop on a plane and go back to Perth,” Smerdon said.
“Steve Wolfe, who trained him there and is the majority owner, has entered him for the Railway and he might end up there yet.”
Mr Utopia jumped from the gates awkwardly in the Guvera Stakes and he bucked for some distance in the early stages of the race before he ended up being beaten by over 20 lengths, which led to Racing Victoria stewards informing Smerdon that Mr Utopia would have to have an official barrier trial before being cleared to race again.
Smerdon confirmed that Mr Utopia jumped from the gates cleanly in the opening barrier trial of the morning over 990 metres this morning and he is hopeful that the six-year-old can return to his best form in the 2015 Sandown Stakes.
“His barrier manners let him down there at Flemington, but he was terrific this morning,” Smerdon said.
“Mark Zahra, who knows him well, rode him and he jumped well and trialed well without being fully extended.”
The 2015 Sandown Stakes nominations were released this morning and Mr Utopia could take on the likes of Charmed Harmony, Lidari, Lord Van Percy, Ninth Legion, Signoff, Solicit and Star Rolling in the Group 3 race.