WARRNAMBOOL trainer Jarrod McLean believes Blackie is ready for his toughest test — the $220,000 weight-for-age Crystal Mile at Moonee Valley on Saturday, October 26.
McLean’s comments follow Blackie’s third placing behind Solzhenitsyn in the $400,000 group 1 Toorak Handicap at Caulfield on Saturday.
“We are delighted with how Blackie ran in the Toorak,” McLean said. “He was flushed out wide and had to make a long, sustained run in unsuitable ground.
“It was a top run but we’ve got his toughest task in the Crystal Mile. It’s a weight-for-age race which will not suit us but the race is part of the program we’ve mapped out for him.”
McLean declared Blackie was over the leg issues which saw the horse enter his stable after being with some highly-ranked Melbourne trainers.
“Blackie had a lot of issues when he came to us but the beach has done wonders with him,” he said.
“He’s in tip-top condition. He’s a very honest horse.
“The Crystal Mile will be a tough task but on the other hand, he loves running at the Valley and he likes the surface.
“We’ve pencilled in the million dollar Emirates Stakes for him on November 9, the last day of the Flemington carnival. It’s a handicap race which will suit him better.”
Blackie had been entered for the $80,000 Murray Bridge Cup on Wednesday but the Toorak third placing gave his prizemoney a $37,000 lift.
“We had thought of going to Murray Bridge on Wednesday but we drew barrier 14 which was going to make it a tough ask to win,” McLean said.
“The cup is the last race on the day and we faced the task of running on a rock hard track.
“Having a run in the Toorak on Saturday we’ve got a few extra days up our sleeve to get him ready for the Crystal Mile.
“We will not do much work with him. We’ll just keep him ticking along because he’s pretty fit.”
Blackie has six wins to his credit from 23 starts.