Top Me Up has been drawn amongst a particularly talented field of eleven for Saturday’s Group 3 McNeil Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield, but co-trainer Wayne Hawkes is confident a step-up in distance will play into the strengths of the classy three-year-old.
Top Me Up is interestingly yet to break through for a maiden race win through four career starts, but has found competitive form since returning this time; placing fourth in the 1print BM78 (1000m) first-up before running on for a close second behind Gold Symphony in the Group 3 Vain Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield a fortnight ago.
Confident the gelding is searching for more distance, Hawkes told Racing Ahead the team is thrilled with Top Me Up’s current condition and believe he is ready for a successful run in the 2015 McNeil Stakes.
“He ran super the other day,” he said.
“He was just a bit tardy out of the gates and if he jumped cleanly he probably leads and that might have been the difference between winning and running second.
“His form is very, very good without winning and he has no reason not to front up.
“He was the most relaxed I have ever seen him work on Tuesday and then the same again this morning, so he is in a good way and he is in a good mood.”
Hawkes believes Top Me Up is at his most effective on speed, and revealed he will instruct jockey Dwayne Dunn to go forward from barrier 5 in the McNeil Stakes.
“He used to run on his nerves, but now that he is a gelding he is relaxing all the time,” Hawkes said.
“He is another one that is going to lead or be box-seat and I think that the 1200 is going to suit him down to the ground.
“100 metres or 200 metres in a race just chances the whole perspective and it is amazing how horses that run out a strong 1400 metres can’t get a mile.
“It can make them or break them.”
Top Me Up stamped his claims as one to watch upon debuting to racing for second in the Listed Blue Diamond Preview (1000m) on January 26th; progressing to a credible fourth in the Group 3 Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m) before returning to the paddock.
Top Me Up is currently available at generous 2015 McNeil Stakes odds of $11 for success with leading online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au.