The performance by Prince Cheri in the Group 3 $150,000 McGrath Estate Agents Sky High Stakes (1900m) at Rosehill on Saturday will determine the rest of his Autumn Carnival campaign.
While Warwick Farm trainer David Vandyke is classifying the Sky High Stakes as Prince Cheri’s ‘grand final’, a good performance will temp him to push on towards some bigger goals later in the Carnival.
“The Sky High is his goal and anything either side of that was going to be a bonus,” Vandyke told the Sportsman.
“We have paid up for the Queen Elizabeth and the Sydney Cup and Brisbane is an option but realistically this is a good race for him.”
“He has the form to win it and I’m sure he will run very well.”
The Group 1 $4m Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) and the Group 1 $1m Schweppes Sydney Cup (3200m) are both run at Randwick on April 19, the final day of the two day racing festival of ‘The Championships’.
Prince Cheri will be stepping up to a more suitable distance of 1900m as well as dropping dramatically in class after a first up sixth to Boban in the Group 1 $500,000 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on March 8.
Vandyke was happy with the run and is content heading back to Rosehill where the French import has two wins from two appearances.
“It was no disgrace getting beaten 3.4 lengths by Boban and It’s A Dundeel,” Vandyke said.
“Back to the much more suitable Sky High he comes in just nicely, up to 1900m should suit and he’s unbeaten at Rosehill.”
“He’s the sort of horse that performs well on the fresher side and I think second up is ideal.”
Prince Cheri recorded a win at Group 3 level in the Spring last year when he won the $125,000 Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill before being sent out as the favourite for the Group 1 $400,000 McGrath Estate Agents Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick at his next run.
The five year old was only beaten one and a half lengths when sixth to Seville and Vandyke immediately sent him to paddock to prepare for the Autumn.
Prince Cheri has been posted the $3.60 favourite for the Sky High Stakes with Ladbrokes.com.au just ahead of Chris Waller’s European import Diametric at $5 and Entirely Platinum from the Team Hawkes stable at $5.25.
Flemington trained four year old Let’s Make A Deal is also dropping back from Group 1 company after finishing seventh to Fiorente in the $1m Darley Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 8 and is marked as a $7 chance.
Diametric has won three races in France and Waller has given the Dansili five year old four barrier trials to prepare him for his Australian debut.