Three-year-old Hardline needs only to perform well against a field of older horses at Doomben to earn at tilt at Group One racing.
Hardline faces a strong line-up in Saturday’s Class 6 Plate (1200m) at his third run back from a spell.
Trainer Liam Birchley has carefully mapped out a campaign for Hardline, the New Zealand Karaka Millions winner as a two-year-old, on his way to the Group One Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington on October 31.
“I have said all along that he has to race well in Brisbane to make the trip to Melbourne,” Birchley said.
“Things have gone along pretty well to date with Hardline. He won well first-up at the Sunshine Coast against older horses and then he also scored nicely at Doomben over 1050 metres, again against older horses, at his last start.”
Birchley said he had been worried before Hardline’s last start because he felt the trip was too short and the field was strong.
“But he put them away nicely,” he said.
“I feel he will be much better on a bigger track and that he really isn’t suited at Doomben.
“Then again he has been unbeaten at Doomben so he is doing the job. Saturday’s race will really tell because it is one of the best Class 6 Plate races I have seen in a good while.”
Birchley said provided Hardline raced well he would head to Melbourne next week with regular jockey Damian Browne to make the trip south for the Coolmore.
“Damian knows exactly how to ride Hardline and they form a great team,” he said.
Birchley’s tough stayer Pop ‘N’ Scotch, who was not among the acceptors for a 2200m benchmark race at Doomben on Saturday, will also go to Melbourne.
Pop ‘N’ Scotch has been placed in the past two Queensland Cups over 3200m and made his return to racing when well beaten at Doomben over 2200m two weeks ago.
“All going well he will then also head to Melbourne. I hope to run him in the Moonee Valley Cup but if he doesn’t get a run there is a race on Wednesday for him,” Birchley said.
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au