Stephen Theodore knows three-year-old gelding Road Trippin faces an almost impossible task against star colt Pierro on Friday night but is looking further into the future with the Derby prospect.
The Group 2 Bill Stutt Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley stands as the latest stop on the Victoria Derby (2500m) road for a horse that Theodore believes will be ideally suited to the long trip come November.
“He’s shown from day one that he’s a Derby proposition. He’s just got such a relaxed manner so I think that 2500m will just suit him down to the ground,” Theodore said.
“It’s about structuring our program to give our horse the best chance looking towards the Derby.
“There’s no denying Pierro’s record but it’s a $220,000 race and somebody has to run second and third.”
The son of Charge Forward is backing up just six days after running fifth to Hvasstan in the Le Pine Funerals Handicap (1700m) at Caulfield but is fresh and ready to fire after being unable to fully exert in Saturday’s race.
“There was a bit of a ruckus and he got caught up and he never really got the chance to let down so he’s ready to go on Friday,” Theodore said.
Theodore said running at Moonee Valley on Friday night and Caulfield last weekend opened up Derby lead-up options with the Group 3 Norman Robinson Stakes (2000m) on October 20 and the Group 2 Moonee Valley Vase (2040m) on October 27 both possibilities.
But the Cranbourne trainer has not ruled out the Caulfield Guineas, with a strong second on Friday likely to see him head to Caulfield on October 13 for a second clash with Pierro.
“To go to the Guineas he’d probably want to be running a thrashing second on Friday night,” he said.
“But because of Pierro again that might scare a few away and we could be left with a 10-horse field in a $1 million race.
“We’ve got a fit horse who has shown plenty of ability. He ran second to Snitzerland as a two-year-old and also ran second to the Blue Diamond third placegetter [Armed For Action].”
Road Trippin was one of 80 horses yesterday entered for the Victoria Derby and one of 34 horses remaining in Guineas contention following the latest round of acceptances.