Trainer Nathan Doyle is quietly confident his patient approach with promising three-year-old Boston Rocks will pay off as he takes a smaller step up than originally planned at Rosehill on Saturday.
On the back of his strong first-up win a month ago, Doyle had flirted with the idea of tackling the Gosford Guineas with Boston Rocks but elected to step back from it given a short turnaround into the Listed race.
And given he’s a gelding, Doyle felt there was nothing to be gained.
Plan A was to run last week at Randwick but after he drew a wide alley, in the race won by Shaken, the Newcastle trainer says he’s found an ideal back up in the Toyota Forklifts Handicap (1200m).
“I thought it was quite a tough run first-up and he’d only had one trial, it mightn’t be to his benefit to go to Gosford,’’ he said.
“They went quick and he was always chasing. He did a good job to get over the line.
“Ideally we were going to run last week but we drew a sticky gate so we waited a week and we got in with no weight and drawn a nice gate.
“The four weeks between runs is okay with him, he’s shown he’s improved a lot out of that first-up run and the 1200m won’t be an issue.”
Boston Rocks, $2.20 with TAB on Thursday, has won three of his four starts for Doyle and could be aimed at the Inglis Sprint at Flemington in March.
Doyle said he’s not sure where the lightly raced charge’s ceiling is yet but given he’s not a colt he’s happy to work his way up and chase the $160,000 prizemoney each week.
As for Saturday’s stepping stone, he feels there’ll be no excuses.
“You just want to see him keep improving,’’ he said.
“He’s showed he’s well and truly up to Saturday grade, how far he goes beyond that you don’t really know until you step them up.
“I think he’s well placed, it’s not a strong 78 on paper and he’s a young three-year-old on the way up.
“He’ll do no work at all and ideally he’ll get a nice run in behind the speed. He’s done super at home and if it all pans out right I’d be disappointed if he’s not in the finish again.”
A decision on whether stablemate Cripps Tonite joins Boston Rocks in the race will be left until race morning and there’s a chance Doyle will keep him at home.
The in-form four-year-old scored a runaway Midway win at Randwick three weeks ago but it was in conditions that very much favoured him.
“I think the key with him was the jar out of the track,’’ Doyle said.
“He’s a more confident horse to let down when there’s a bit of give in the track. He got that the other day and he accelerated when asked to extend.
“He’s deep into the preparation so if we don’t get the right set up and track conditions we might look to give him a break and race him over the winter period.”
It’s just on a year since Doyle’s biggest prizemoney win when Rush Hour took out the $500,000 The Debut on the Gold Coast and the colt is on the way back having not raced since February.
He finished midfield in the Skyline Stakes at his only other run, behind Corniche and subsequent Slipper winner Shinzo, but missed the spring due to a setback.
“We gave him a soft trial last week and we’ll trial him again next Wednesday,’’ Doyle said.
“I feel he’s come back in good order so that’s positive.”
– Racing NSW