Trainer David Payne has been pleased with the class displayed by Doc Holliday through his short racing career so far and has unveiled a bold plan to target the three-year-old towards an appearance in the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) during The Championships this year.
Doc Holliday has only made three competitive appearances at the races since first debuting last September and is yet to line up for a race at black type level, but has shown plenty of ability and improvement over increasing distances.
Yet to contest a race longer than a mile, Payne told AAP he is brimming with excitement at the prospect of saddling Doc Holliday in races 2000m and beyond and concedes his first point of call; Saturday’s More Than Winning Plate (1400m) at Rosehill will find the horse a little too short.
“It will be a bit short for him this week but he is fresh and he’ll run a cheeky race,” Payne said.
Doc Holliday has not been seen at the races since running sixth in the City Tatts Club Spring BM72 (1600m) at Randwick on October 17th and Payne is thrilled with the benefit taken by the horse since then.
“We’ve given him time to mature so now we’ll march onto the Derby,” Payne said.
“That’s the plan if all goes well.”
“I can’t wait to get him out to 2000 metres.”
Trialling well in the lead-up to his competitive debut, Doc Holliday stamped himself as one to watch from the outset when producing an impressive late effort to run on for a credible fifth in a Canterbury race over 1550m.
Given little chance for success in his second competitive start, the High Chaparral gelding jumped from the gates well and was immediately led to the fore of the field by jockey Kerrin McEvoy; experiencing an excellent run in transit before extending late to hit the line close to a length in the clear of closest rival Ritzy.
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