There’s no doubting the fact Spechenka has the quality to win the Grafton Cup tomorrow however it’s far from a done deal with plenty of factors in play.
The major concern troubling trainer Ben Ahrens at the moment is that there may not be a hot pace early on in the race.
Spechenka has already won two black type races this season over the longer distances but each time he’s been able to switch off back in the pack while the leaders did plenty of work up front.
“The pace of the race is my biggest concern leading into it,” Ahrens said.
“There doesn’t look like being a huge amount of pressure up front.”
Spechenka won his last start in the Listed Caloundra Cup after taking the shortest route across the 2400m and getting a dream run as they came off the home turn.
Earlier in the season he won over the same distance at Randwick in the Group 3 Summer Cup.
The Caloundra Cup was a fantastic race and Spechenka had to dig deep to move up to Gold and Dubai and Queensland Cup champion Tinseltown.
Gold In Dubai will get his chance at redemption tomorrow and as a front runner the lack of speed on paper could play right into his hands.
“It would be good if it’s a genuine staying test but it could come to nothing if it’s a sit and sprint,” Ahrens said.
“If it’s a true staying event then I think he’ll show further improvement from Caloundra.”
Ahrens decided to bypass last Saturday’s Queensland Cup over 3200m despite having a great chance on form.
Tinseltown ended up winning it easily which has franked the run of Spechenka last start, Ahrens though happy to stick with the 2350m trek at Grafton rather than pushing him too far.
“With the preparation he had had it was a little bit of a risk to go to 3200 metres and we thought the Grafton Cup was a better fit even though this looks a tougher race,” Ahrens said.
“We’ve got plans down the track for the horse to hopefully go to Sydney and maybe on to Melbourne (in the spring) so if he’s going to do that he’d have to measure up in the Grafton Cup anyway.”
The Grafton Cup is shaping as a great contest with plenty of great chances including The Verminator, Shuffle The Cash and Summarise.
Spechenka has come into some form at the right time as he had run three times for only modest results before heading to the Sunshine Coast.
Ahrens though says he was unsurprised with the five year olds return to form.
“It wasn’t really a surprise or a reversal of form, it was just that he finally got back to a distance he likes and his fitness was up to the mark,” he said.
Future spring plans will be largely influenced by his race tomorrow but there are a couple of early options on the table.
The Newcastle Cup over 2300m would suit him nicely as well as the Metropolitan over 2400m.
A trip to Victoria also hasn’t been ruled out if he shows enough to warrant a start in some of the big spring features.
That could even include the big one, Ahrens saying that while he wasn’t ready for the two miles in Brisbane last weekend, the Melbourne Cup could roll around at the right time.
“Ideally I think 3200 will be a good distance for him,” Ahrens said.