Seven-year-old Territory has been thrown into the deep end by trainer Jarrod Austin after the gelding was a late entry for the Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens Racecourse this Saturday.
Territory, who has not run in a class higher than listed since the Group 2 Sandown Guineas (1600m) in 2010, will take on the likes of Group One winners Boban, Hawkspur, and Driefontein in the Expressway Stakes.
Both Austin and the gelding’s owners decided the race was right after nominations were announced on Monday morning.
Chris Waller’s Boban won the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) last autumn but has yet to win over the distance of the Expressway Stakes. Territory on the other hand has won three of his starts over 1200 metres.
“The owners had a good look at the race and decided to have a go at it,” Austin told Sky Racing.
“There are some quality Group One horses resuming that have never won over six furlongs (1200m) so we thought Territory deserved a chance at a race like this.
“He is not going to be going far into the carnival. He likes wet tracks and he likes Rosehill so this is his best chance to win a big race.”
Territory was a fast finishing third in the Listed Takeover Target Stakes (1200m) on January 9 at Gosford Racecourse, just half a length behind Ball Of Muscle and That’s A Good Idea.
Austin is hopeful that the gelding can get one over the resuming quality horses in the 2015 Expressway Stakes, who won’t be focusing all their attention on their first race of the autumn. Territory meanwhile will be giving it his all considering he’s not going far into the carnival.
An ongoing leg problem with the gelding has had to be looked after by Austin, who took over training duties from Lee Freedman at the beginning of 2013.
“He has a bad joint which has been with him all along and we just have to manage it,” Austin said.
The 2015 Expressway Stakes final field will be released later this morning. Make sure to check back at Races.com.au for all the latest updates.
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