Mark Riley has already begun mapping out a route towards the $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) with Of The Brave following an impressive barrier trial from the colt on Thursday morning.
The two-year-old recorded a three-length win over 800 metres in 45.44 seconds at Cranbourne this morning with jockey Stephen Baster following a debut win in the Listed Debutant Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield back in October.
“He hasn’t disappointed us in anything he’s done this horse and he’s put everything together again today,” Riley told Racing.com following the trial.
“Stephen purposely had him out on his own in the middle of the track just to educate him a little bit more.
“I think he’ll take good improvement from the trial and he’s right on track for the Blue Diamond Prelude.”
It is likely that Of The Brave will now kick-off his autumn campaign in the Group 3 Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m) at Caulfield on February 14 before the main event two weeks later. If he can finish in the first three in the $1 million Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) on February 28, Riley will take him to Sydney to contest the 2015 Golden Slipper at Rosehill on March 21.
“If he ran top three in the Blue Diamond and he pulled up really well than we’d head to the Slipper,” the trainer said.
“We’re using these trials as stepping stones leading into his first up run and he’s had a nice trial today but he hasn’t been overtaxed by any shape.”
Of The Brave wasn’t the only winner for Riley at the Cranbourne trials – Royalic ran the quickest 800m trial time in 44.90 seconds.
The Written Tycoon colt finished second last in the Listed Maribyrnong Trial (1000m) at Flemington last October but his impressive barrier trial win means the two-year-old will line-up alongside Of The Brave in the Blue Diamond Prelude.
“Last preparation we had problems with him in the Maribyrnong Trial where he pulled up very jarry and sore,” Riley said.
“He was very impressive today in his trial. At this stage I think Of The Brave is a little bit ahead of him but as they mature and develop I think they’re pretty evenly matched horses and I’m pretty lucky to have them both.”
Of The Brave is paying $13 in the Blue Diamond futures betting market at Ladbrokes.com.au while Royalic is an outside shot at $101.