Ipswich Cup winner Shenzhou Steeds faces his toughest test yet when he lines up in Saturday’s 2012 Caloundra Cup (2400m) at the Sunshine Coast.
He may be heading into the Sunshine Coast feature in excellent form but a heavy (10) track and an increase in distance leave trainer Michael Moroney in unknown territory.
“It’s going to be his biggest test,” Moroney said.
With the poor Queensland weather expected to clear up by tomorrow, Racing Queensland officials yesterday gave the green light for the meeting to go ahead but said a track upgrade was highly unlikely.
The conditions will be unlike any the New Zealand-bred gelding has faced before and adding further difficulty to his task is the top weight of 58kg.
“He’s stepping to a mile and a half (2400m) for the first time, he’s got a fair bit of weight and the track is fairly heavy,” Moroney said.
“It will be interesting…he’s won on slow before but never in this sort of ground.”
From 14 starts, the Ishiguru four-year-old has won six times and Moroney believes it is another New Zealand-bred gelding that provides the biggest obstacle to him adding another victory to his resume on Saturday.
“I thought Roi D’Jeu would be the hardest to beat,” Moroney said.
The Craig Ritchie-trained six-year-old is a proven stayer and was most recently seen producing a gutsy runner-up finish on a heavy (10) track in the Stayers Cup at Rosehill.
A son of Montjeu, Roi D’Jeu is a proven wet track performer, having recorded four of his eight career victories on slow or heavy tracks.
Other horses set to start in the Caloundra Cup include 2011 winner Spechenka and Tattersall’s Cup third place-getter Warrior Within.
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