Trainer John Sadler is thrilled with the condition of The Bandit leading into second-up assignment, but concedes that the horse faces a huge assignment in the 2016 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
The Bandit began his racing career abroad in Japan, but was purchased and transferred to the care of Sadler after only three competitive starts in late 2014 and early 2015.
Having returned to racing for a credible fourth in the United Refrigeration BM78 (1514m) at Moonee Valley on September 3rd, the Empire Maker stallion has also been included in nominations for races over 1700m and 2400m respectively on Saturday, but Sadler believes the Underwood Stakes 2016 is a better fit for the five-year-old’s spring campaign.
“The right race and the right journey are two different events,” Sadler told AAP.
“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.
“The top lot of horses won’t be around as the day before in Sydney is The Metropolitan.
“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.
“Hopefully he’s then ready to perform well in the Bart Cummings.”
The Bandit debuted in Australia for eighth in a Pakenham minor over 1600m in February this year, before posting his first win in the Le Pine Funerals BM70 (1800m) on March 28th.
Progressing to sixth in the Ladbrokes Live Play BM78 (1800m) and fourth in the VRC EFI Condovrakis BM78 (2000m), The Bandit ran second in the Listed Andrew Ramsden Stakes (3200m) at Flemington on May 21st before returning to the paddock for a freshen-up.
The 2016 Underwood Stakes field and barrier draw is due to be completed and released by midday, Wednesday.
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