Having broken through for an overdue win, Alburq will be tested at 1400 metres for the first time at Flemington as trainer Mike Moroney looks to the future with the three-year-old gelding.
Alburq broke his maiden at his eighth start with a narrow but impressive victory over 1200m against his own age at Flemington on December 21 in a performance that came as no shock to his trainer.
“He was pretty unlucky the start before not to have won at Moonee Valley so it wasn’t unexpected,” Moroney said.
“He has always shown ability. We have never been shy and kept him away from the better ones because we’ve always known of his talent.”
Alburq was placed in the Magic Millions Clockwise Classic at Ballarat on debut in late 2018 behind stablemate Hawker Hurricane and was second to Yes Yes Yes in his second start as a two-year-old before a stakes placing in a Blue Diamond Preview.
He is in his second preparation as a gelding and Moroney says he is relaxing better, giving the trainer confidence to step him up in distance in Saturday’s benchmark 78 race in which he heads the weights with 60kg.
“We’re going to try him at 1400 metres and just see how he goes because we want to work out which races to have a go at in the autumn, or spring,” Moroney said.
“We’re just trying to work out his right distance.
“We feel pretty confident he’ll get it. He’s a pretty relaxed horse now that he’s gelded.”
Moroney was impressed Alburq was able to overcome difficulty in the run last start in the straight-track sprint when he beat That Girl and Can’t Be Done.
“He cantered up to them like he was going to win easily,” Moroney said.
“The rider put him in idle for a bit but then he got knocked around badly.
“The inside horse came out and crammed him for room.
“He hit the running rail and looked as though he was going to be an unlucky loser but he picked himself up again to win so it was a really good effort.”