Leading South Australian trainer Phillip Stokes has confirmed two-year-old Captain Duffy will be tested over a mile and at black type conditions for the first time in Saturday’s Listed Taj Rossi Series Final (1600m) at Flemington.
Captain Duffy has made only three competitive appearances since his racing debut in April, but booked his position in the Taj Rossi Series Final with a strong performance for a comprehensive win in the Anthony Scopelitis Memorial Handicap (1200m) at Morphettville on June 25th.
Confident the horse will relish a step up to 1600m for the first time this weekend, Stokes told AAP he has been impressed by the class displayed by Captain Duffy through his short career so far but concedes he faces a big test in the Taj Rossi Series Final 2016.
“I think he’s crying out for the mile and basically that’s the only mile race for two-year-olds that we can find in this part of the world,” Stokes said.
“He’s a last-start winner and I just thought it would be a good time to send him over there to see where he sits in the bigger picture.
“His last-start win was courageous. He found the line well and I just want to see where he’s at.
“I know where he sits back here in Adelaide. He hasn’t really beaten much so we’ll just see where he fits in over there (in Melbourne).
“If he steps up and wins you might see him over the spring, and if he doesn’t he’ll be back here.”
Trialling well in the lead-up to his debut, Captain Duffy was unlucky to be hampered for a run in the early stages of the RSL Anzac Appeal Handicap (1050m) on April 25th and failed to recover; running 6.5 lengths off the pace of winner Blue Tycoon.
Having been vetted after the run, the King Cugat colt responded to his first-up performance with a strong run for fourth amongst classy company in the Irish Race Day Maiden (1000m) on the Morphettville Parks circuit on June 11th, in what was his only other start prior to his last start triumph.
Included amongst a list of seventeen nominations, Captain Duffy is expected to be confirmed in a capacity 2016 Taj Rossi Series Final field of sixteen following the completion of a barrier draw on Wednesday.