Sonntag will jump from barrier ten in the 2014 Eclipse Stakes at Sandown on Saturday, but trainer Henry Dywer does not believe that the wide draw will be an issue for the Group 1 winner in the Group 3 event this weekend.
Sonntag was sent to the spelling paddock following his tough win in the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) in June and returned to racing with another brave win in the Listed Sale Cup (1600m) on October 26.
The Teofilo entire received a lovely run into the race just worse than midfield and one off the fence in the Sale Cup and Dwyer hopes that he will receive a similar run into the Eclipse Stakes, but he told Sky Racing HQ that he would not be concerned if Sonntag was caught wide in the early stages of the race.
“The awkward barrier I don’t think is much of an issue and the 1800 metre start on the Hillside track at Sandown is on the very back corner of the racecourse and I think you have about 900 or 1000 to the first corner,” Dwyer said.
“There looks to be one or two that will go forward and he should get a nice run in behind them if he gets in and if he doesn’t get in it is not a big issue.
“In the Derby he sat three wide the trip and he is that typical European style of stayer really, he can just lob where he is comfortable in his own zone and quicken off wherever he is.”
Connections opted to bypass the major events during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival with Sonntag to give him a decent stint in the spelling paddock, but they are eyeing a return to Group 1 racing during the 2015 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
Dwyer said that the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) during The Championships would be the major goal for Sonntag in the autumn and he is confident that the four-year-old has the ability to measure up in that sort of race.
“The Sydney Cup is his main goal,” Dwyer said.
“I think that he is a deadset stayer so two miles will not be an issue; he is very clean-winded, he is very naturally athletic and as a consequence we don’t have to work him too hard to get there.
“There is probably a bit of longevity about him too give that he is a gelding, but in saying that he doesn’t cop a heap of work and he doesn’t eat that well either.
“It is a matter of spacing his races and I think that he will get to the Sydney Cup, but it won’t be a conventional lead-up and I think that he is up to that level.
“The Queensland Derby wasn’t overly strong, but he was always going to be the best horse out of that race and the horse with the most upside going forward.”
Sonntag is currently available at 2014 Eclipse Stakes odds of $6 and he is on the third line of betting behind Pheidon ($5) and Escado ($5).