With The Bandit nominated in three races at Caulfield, his trainer John Sadler is favouring the toughest.
The Bandit is entered in a 1700m race, another over 2400m and the Group One Underwood Stakes.
Sadler will make a final decision after trackwork on Tuesday but is favouring the 1800m of the Underwood Stakes as the lead-up to The Bandit’s first spring goal, the Bart Cummings at Flemington on October 2.
The winner of the Bart Cummings gains an automatic start in the Melbourne Cup.
“The right race and the right journey are two different events,” Sadler said.
“The right journey for him is the Underwood but it’s the wrong race and the right race is not the right journey.
“At this stage I would be leaning towards the Underwood Stakes.”
Sadler said the ideal race for The Bandit was last Saturday’s Naturalism Stakes at Caulfield.
Unfortunately The Bandit was fourth emergency and failed to gain a start in the race won by Jameka.
Sadler also had a 2000m race picked out the following day at Ballarat, but that meeting was transferred to the Pakenham synthetic track.
The trainer hopes the Japanese-bred horse could be a lightweight Melbourne Cup chance.
He ran second in the “other” 3200m race at Flemington, the Andrew Ramsden Stakes at Flemington in May.
Sadler said gaining an automatic exemption by winning the Bart Cummings would take a lot of pressure off the campaign heading towards the Melbourne Cup.
“The top lot of horses won’t be around as the day before in Sydney is The Metropolitan,” Sadler said.
“And it’s probably a bit early for some horses running over that trip as the better horses are aiming towards the Caulfield Cup and the Cox Plate.
“It’s a big thing to be exempt from the ballot because then you can rest on your laurels.”
The Bandit ran fourth over 1600m at Moonee Valley on September 3 and Sadler said he needed another run before his Flemington outing.
“Hopefully he’s then ready to perform well in the Bart Cummings,” Sadler said.
The Bandit is one of 16 horses entered for Saturday’s race including Group One winners Black Heart Bart, Howard Be Thy Name, Lucia Valentina, Our Ivanhowe, Prince Of Penzance, Tarzino and Tavago.
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au