Trainer David Brideoake sees his home track of Mornington as a advantage for Self Sense ahead of the gelding’s run in the R M Ansett Classic.
Saturday’s 2400m-handicap is a replacement run for Self Sense after the gelding, who successfully combines flat racing with hurdling, missed the MRC Foundation Cup at Caulfield last week.
Brideoake said Self Sense produced a good piece of work on Tuesday which convinced him he was ready to run well on Saturday.
“He does like the track and I’m hoping it doesn’t firm up too much,” Brideoake said.
“It’s in really good order and I think there’s a decent chance of seeing improvement from the horse now that he’s getting to this trip.
“Once he hits a bit of form, then you’re right, but it does take a few runs to hit that form.
“He’s had a good piece of work to come into this 2400-metre race and I’m really expecting the improvement to happen on Saturday.”
Brideoake has refrained from jumping Self Sense this week but regularly pops him over hurdles to keep his mind sharp.
Self Sense is guaranteed a start in the Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 19 following his Mornington Cup (2400m) win earlier in the year and Saturday’s performance will determine whether the gelding needs another start before the $5 million race.
Brideoake sees a pair of Liam Howley-trained stayers, Douglas Macarthur and Exemplar, part-owned by Lloyd and Nick Williams, as being the toughest to beat.
Lightly raced stablemate Shepard will be out to extend his winning streak in the Vale Les O’Briem ‘Craftsman’ Handicap.
Shepard, part of a group of yearlings purchased by Peter Moody in Britain, has won two of his three starts and is showing signs of being a promising stayer.
“We’ve been very patient with him and spaced his runs and we’ve been rewarded in what he’s continuing to do,” Brideoake said.
“He seems to go up a notch with each race.
“By European time he’s only three-and-a-half so he’s doing a fine job and at this time next year we might see him in a bit better race.”