Victoria Derby winner Ace High is set to kick off his 2018 Autumn Carnival campaign against the sprinters in the Group 2 $200,000 Expressway Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
Trainer David Payne admits that the small group of sprinters nominated for the Expressway Stakes will be too slick for Ace High who proved to be the superior three year old stayer with his win in the Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington during the 2017 Melbourne Spring Carnival.
“Saturday’s race will be too short for him over 1200 metres but he’s going so well he will hurt himself if he doesn’t start now,” Payne told AAP.
“The race will just take the edge off him and then we look to the longer races.
“Even though he only had four-and-a-half weeks out he has actually matured and is a bigger, stronger horse.”
Ace High will then follow a three year old program heading towards the Group 1 $1m Girvan Waugh Randwick Guineas (1600m) at Randwick on March 10 and the Group 1 $600,000 Sky Rosehill Guineas (2000m) at Rosehill on March 24.
Payne will then decide if the High Chaparral three year old sticks to his own age group in the Group 1 $2m BMW Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on April 7, day one of The Championships, or takes on the older horses at weight for age in the Group 1 $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick a week later.
The Australian Turf Club extended nominations for the Expressway Stakes until 11am on Tuesday January 30, 2018, after they received only nine entries for the weight for age sprint.
Included in the original nominations was the Group 1 winning three year old Trapeze Artist and Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott’s dual Group 1 winning mare Global Glamour.
The Gerald Ryan trained Trapeze Artist scored a major upset when he arrived at $41 to win the Group 1 $1m De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill during the 2017 Sydney Spring Carnival but was then spelled after finishing down the track when fifteenth to Merchant Navy in the Group 1 $1m Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) down the Flemington straight on the first day of the 2017 four day Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Global Glamour has been installed the early $3.20 favourite for the Expressway Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au and will be second up after finishing sixth to Invincibella in the $1m Magic Millions Fillies and Mares (1300m) at the Gold Coast on January 13.
Trapeze Artist is on the second line of betting at $4.20 while Ace High is one of the outsiders at $26.
Early betting for the 2018 Expressway Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $3.20 Global Glamour, $4.20 Trapeze Artist, $4.60 Addictive Nature, Egyptian Symbol, $7 Memes, $8 Showtime, $9 Goodfella, $26 Ace High, $81 More To Gain.