From heartache to Group 1 triumph, that is the path Cranbourne trainer Stephen Theodore is hoping to travel this spring with his first-up Caulfield winner Road Trippin’.
The 2013 Emirates Stakes has been named by Theodore as an ambitious Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival goal for the Charge Forward three-year-old following their impressive win over the mile on Wednesday.
Ridden by Steve Arnold Road Trippin’ raced for the first time since April when second in the Listed Adelaide Guineas (1800m) and was far too good for their older rivals in Victoria taking out the TMB Printing Handicap (1600m) by an easy two and a half lengths.
Theodore is now hoping they can rise through the ranks and reach elite level this season.
The dedicated horseman named the $200,000 Listed Cranbourne Cup (2025m) on Sunday October 13 as a possible target but ideally would love to see Road Trippin’ go further.
“A race like the Cranbourne Cup is a race close to me that I would like to set him for but I think he might even just excel a bit better than that,” Theodore said.
Possible Group 1 assignments for the four-time winner include both the $400,000 Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield Racecourse on October 12 and the Melbourne Cup Carnival’s $1 million Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on November 9.
“A horse like him could cheat with the handicappers and a race like the Toorak or the could be the go,” Theodore added.
Road Trippin’ is an especially important horse for Theodore and connections as they are a full brother to the ill-fated Crack A Roadie.
The former top juvenile won the Inglis Banner on debut last October before just being nudged out of the Group 3 HKJC Maribyrnong Plate (1000m) victory on Emirates Stakes Day.
They failed badly in their first-up Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) assignment this February however but were on track to bounce back having overcome a number of minor injuries before disaster struck.
The colt was at work in Theodore’s stables back in May but escaped from their handler, ran out onto the road and died after being struck by a truck in an event that still rocks Theodore.
“It was an absolute tragedy,” Theodore said when speaking about the loss on Wednesday.
“He had so much promise and we’d just got on top of his problems.
“But I think this bloke (Road Trippin’) can go on with it now. It would be justice.
“The full brother was an absolute tragedy.
“The older brother, the lesser-known one is going to have to hold the torch for the owners.”
Road Trippin’ had form around some of the best last spring including their fifth to All Too Hard in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m), Theodore confident they can progress on that this coming season.
“I ran him in a Caulfield Guineas,” he said.
“He ran third to All Too Hard in the Sires’ and fifth to Pierro.
“I haven’t missed him, I have set him big tasks and he’s just starting to come into his own.
“He’s been handy as a two-year-old, good as an early three-year-old and he’s matured nicely.
“We have got pretty big ambitions with this horse.”
To follow the spring progress of Road Trippin’ and get behind them should they go into the Group 1’s above stay tuned to Races.com.au.