Trainer David Brideoake has faith in Hardern developing into a city class stayer.
A last-start winner of a benchmark 70 class race at Geelong, Hardern jumps to 78 company at Sandown on Saturday in the OTI Racing Handicap.
He is a son of Hard Spun and Brideoake, who has plenty of working knowledge of the stallion’s progeny, says the best is still to come.
Earlier in his career Hardern was successful over 1200m then was later placed in the Group Two Alister Clark Stakes behind Tally and Palentino at Moonee Valley.
“He’s hit his straps and I’m happy to be going to Sandown,” Brideoake said.
“He’s a stakes-placed horse and he’s getting better with time, as this breed do, and I would think he should develop into a Saturday grade stayer.
“It might take a little while but knowing the breed they seem to get a little bit tougher the older they get.”
Brideoake is looking no further than Saturday’s assignment but says there are a number of suitable staying races every few weeks for the four-year-old.
“We should be able to get through the summer with a couple more nice runs from him,” Brideoake said.
Brideoake is still learning about new stable acquisition I’m A Flying Star who will be having her second start for him in the 1000m Argyle Maintenance Handicap.
The mare was formerly prepared by Mark Riley who is serving a three-year TCO2 disqualification.
Brideoake is expecting a better run from I’m A Flying Star after the mare finished a first-up last at Moonee Valley on December 9.
Damien Oliver is back aboard having ridden the mare twice previously for a win and a second placing, both over Saturday’s course and distance.
“She’s really a watch for us,” Brideoake said.
“She’s back to Sandown and has Oliver back on who has won on her and I’m expecting a better performance from her this time.”