No horse has won the Newmarket Handicap first-up since Polycrates in 1917, but trainer Joe Pride is confident that Terravista can start his autumn campaign with a win in the Group 1 event at Flemington on November 14.
Pride revealed last month that he was looking to resume Terravista in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) and he confirmed this morning on Racing Ahead that the Captain Rio gelding was extremely likely to contest the handicap sprint first-up.
Terravista has recorded four wins from his four first-up starts, including strong efforts in the Group 3 Southern Cross Stakes (1200m) and Group 3 Show County Quality (1200m), and Pride has no doubts that the five-year-old can maintain his unbeaten first-up record in the Newmarket Handicap.
“I would like to take him to the Newmarket first-up and then three weeks into the TJ Smith and then we probably run him in the All Aged and that might nearly do us,” Pride said.
“He is four from four first-up and he has never looked like being beaten first-up.
“He is a super horse fresh and I didn’t want to run him the Lightning because I think that it is an extra run he doesn’t need and I think he can win that Newmarket first-up.”
Terravista has now been back in work for a couple of weeks and Pride is happy with the physical condition of the gelding, but said that the Darley Classic winner had not done any serious work and would be tested until he contests a barrier trial next month ahead of his return to racing in the Newmarket Handicap.
“He is great order and I am really pleased with him,” Pride said.
“He is travelling really well at the moment.
“He is not a horse that does much in his trackwork at all and he is quiet a lazy, casual track worker.
“There will not be anything spectacular happening until he goes off to the trials, but he is in fantastic order and I couldn’t be happier with him.
“He has bulked up, when he raced in Melbourne at his last start he was low 540s and he is 560 something now.”
Terravista started his 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with two comfortable wins in the Show County Quality and Group 2 The Shorts (1100m) before he made his racing debut in Melbourne with a unlucky fourth in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 24.
He went into the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 8 on the fourth line of betting and justified Pride’s claims that he was the best sprinter in the world with a narrow in over Chautauqua.