Rangiora trainer John Blackadder will make the long trip south to Wingatui racecourse on Monday afternoon confident in the knowledge he has talented galloper Maximus Prime ready to perform to his best 24-hours later in the main race on the Otgao Racing Club’s ten-race Melbourne Cup day card, the Grand Casino 1400m.
Blackadder is using the open 1400m contest as the final lead-up run for his charge before he tackles the Group 2 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile (1600m) at Riccarton on November 10 and expects to see him figure prominently in the finish after he was narrowly beaten at Ashburton last time when having his first run in more than a month.
“I think this race will be ideal for him as the trip away and the race should see him spot on for Riccarton a week later,” Blackadder said.
“In hindsight I think he was a run short last time and that probably told over the last 200m when they caught him.
“This time I’d like to see him settle a lot better and find the line well as he will need to do that at Riccarton to be competitive there.”
Blackadder isn’t concerned about any possible rain forcing a track downgrade from the Dead5 rating that was posted on Sunday morning for the meeting.
“He handles any type of track and may prefer just a little bit of cut in the surface,” he said.
“He has won on tracks that were heavy and ones that were firm, so he is very versatile.
“I always had a big opinion of him, but he has needed time to mature and that is why we have spaced his races out.
“He’s a five-year-old that has only had the seven starts and I think you will start to see the best of him from now on.”
Blackadder is also not worried by the effect the five and a half-hour float trip from his Rangiora base will have on his charge, although he admits by the time they get home on Tuesday night he will be a little weary.
“It’s a long way to Wingatui from home, so we’re heading down on the Monday,” he said.
“He hasn’t been that far from home before, but he is a very sensible horse who eats and drinks well, so I don’t have any concerns there.
“He will be on the float home straight after the race and back in familiar surroundings by around 10pm.
“I have really only been training for what seems like five minutes and I’ve always wondered what it would be like to get a really good horse.
“I have had some nice ones along the way so far, but this guy is different and I’m enjoying every minute with him and I hope there is plenty more to come.”