Running on to finish a credible fourth amongst classy competition in the Listed James Boag’s Premium Stakes (1800m) last time out on Melbourne Cup Day, trainer Dan O’Sullivan is confident of a return to the winner’s circle for classy gelding Tuscan Fire in Saturday’s Listed Ballarat Cup (2200m).
Securing nine wins and a further 18 minor places from his 52 competitive race starts so far, Tuscan Fire failed to beat a single runner home in the Listed Seymour Cup (1600m) first-up on October 19th and as a result surprised many when finishing less-than a length from winner Atacama as a $71 chance for success at Flemington last time out.
Pleased with the continually building form of the Tuscanos gelding ahead of the Ballarat Cup, O’Sullivan said Wednesday’s barrier draw will likely play a key role in success but is confident his runner will line up in peak condition.
“He wasn’t tested in the Seymour Cup and we felt he’d come up really well this preparation,” O’Sullivan told Racing Victoria.
“Last year he was running in Group 1 races and wasn’t being beaten that far and it was no surprise to me how well he went at Flemington.
“He’s come through the run terrifically well and naturally it’s brought him on and should have him peaking for Ballarat which was my ultimate goal.
“I think he shows his best turn-of-foot when he draws a good barrier and gets cover.
“My confidence levels are probably dependant on the barrier draw but I couldn’t be happier with the horse himself.”
Yet to outline a specific target beyond Saturday’s 2014 Ballarat Cup, O’Sullivan said the eight-year-old is likely to return for a brief spell before returning to the track for a summer campaign.
“He’ll run in the Ballarat Cup and then probably have a freshen-up before tackling handicaps over the summer,” O’Sullivan added.
“He just thrives in the stable and he handles a long campaign really well.
“He’s not getting any younger and we can always go down the path of jumping in the future.”
Contesting each of the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m), Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) and Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) most notably over the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, Tuscan Fire contested just three starts over a short autumn campaign this year, highlighted by a credible third amongst classy competition in the Catanach’s Jewellers Handicap (1600m) on May 17th.
A final field and barrier draw for the 2014 Bendigo Cup is due to be confirmed and released by midday Wednesday.
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