Gold Coast-based trainer Bruce Hill is hoping to see good things from his promising gelding Startsmeup early this season, plans for a Sydney Spring Carnival raid targeting the 2011 Epsom Handicap on the agenda.
Danzero four-year-old Startsmeup has enjoyed a consistent career to date including their outstanding win at Doomben over the weekend, which has his trainer optimistic over finally preparing a Group 1 winner.
Last Saturday Startsmeup saluted for the punters with a smart one and a quarter length victory over Tierqualo in the Ownit Homes Open Handicap (1350m).
The victory took Startsmeup’s record to four wins and eight minor placings from 17 starts for close to $360,000 in prize money.
Other earlier eye-catching performances from the galloper included their huge four length win on debut at Doomben in December of 2009, from which they backed up with a third place finish to Military Rose in that year’s Listed BJ McLachlan Stakes (1200m).
This year Startsmeup earned their first interstate assignment after running a close second to Torio’s Quest in the $1 million Magic Millions 3YO Guineas on the Gold Coast in January.
Hill took the then three-year-old to Sydney after their strong Magic Millions effort, the horse having three runs there including a narrow second to Bullbars in the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington in February.
Tested at elite level in March, Startsmeup finished a disappointing 10th beaten six lengths by winner Shamrocker in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington when marred by an awkward barrier 15 of 16 draw and racing over the mile for the first time.
After back-to-back barrier trial wins at the Gold Coast and Deagon in June and July, Startsmeup resumed with a hopeful second to the Robert Heathcote-trained Excellantes in the Jim Beam 3YO Handicap (1100m) at Doomben on July 16, a brave effort considering they had 59.5kg on their back and were forced to race wide throughout from a double-digit draw.
“He’s going terrific this campaign,” Hill said.
“I thought he ran a great race when he ran second first-up at Doomben last start when he was only half-ready.
“This horse had never had a decent spell until I took him away last spring when I left him down there (Sydney) with a mate of mine for a seven-week spell.”
Following their second-up success on Saturday, Hill believes Startsmeup could have what it takes to feature in the major races of the upcoming Sydney and Melbourne spring festivals including even the $500,000 Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick on October 1.
“I’m going to sit down and work out a plan of attack,” Hill said.
“I don’t want to kill him too soon in his campaign but I’ll probably give him his next run over 1400 metres in Sydney and then another one over 1600 metres.
“After that he’ll go on to Melbourne for some of the better races over 1600 metres like the Toorak Handicap.”
The $350,000 Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) will run at Caulfield Racecourse on Caulfield Guineas Day 2011, Saturday October 8.