Trainer Daniel O’Sullivan is confident that veteran stayer Tuscan Fire is in peak condition for the 2014 Western Health Cup at Flemington on Saturday.
Tuscan Fire started his preparation with a luckless run in the Listed Seymour Cup (1600m) on October 19 and flashed home late to finish fourth in the Listed James Boag’s Premium Stakes (1800m) at Flemington on November 4 before he finished a credible fifth in the Listed Ballarat Cup (2200m) on November 22.
O’Sullivan believes that Tuscan Fire took plenty of benefit from his run in the Ballarat Cup and he is delighted with the condition of the Tuscanos gelding heading into the Western Health Cup this weekend.
“He has come through it well,” O’Sullivan told Racing Ahead.
“He had a nice three weeks in between runs and had a quiet week after it.
“Mujadale was just pretty tough and pretty brave and we had a bit of weight and it just seemed to take its toll on him late in the race.
“He is cherry ripe.
“You could argue that he raced like he needed the run in the Ballarat Cup, he was third-up at 2200, and I have decided come back to the 2000 rather than grind him up to the 2600 for the race at Werribee on the weekend.”
The Listed Bagot Handicap (2800m) at Flemington on New Year’s Day was set to be the major summer target for Tuscan Fire, but O’Sullivan has elected to drop his star galloper back down in trip and set him for Byron Moore Handicap (2000m) at the same venue.
O’Sullivan revealed that another tilt at the Listed Mornington Cup (2400m) could be on the agenda for Tuscan Fire if he continues to race well this preparation, while a return to jumps racing is also on the agenda for the versatile galloper.
“There is another 2000 metre race on the same day, he won it two years ago, and then there is a 2500 metre race on the 10th of January,” O’Sullivan said.
“We will just go down that path and you could argue that with 60 kilos at Listed level he is not quite good enough to carry that much weight at the grade.
“At least in these open handicaps I can claim and get a little weight relief.
“If he can win a couple of these races we could go down that path.”
Tuscan Fire has recorded two wins from his six race starts over the jumps and finished in the placings in the 2012 edition of the Australian Hurdle (3400m).