SANAGAS has to carry the huge impost of 60.5kg after the four-kilogram claim for apprentice jockey Boris Thornton in tomorrow’s $40,000 Koroit Cup.
But his trainer Ciaron Maher believes he is up to the task.
The eight-year-old, which was formerly trained by the cups king Bart Cummings, has his first start for Maher in the 1700-metre race at Warrrnambool.
Maher said Sanagas would be hard to beat in the feature race if he brought his “A grade” form to the races.
“Sanagas is a class galloper. We decided to put Boris on him,” Maher said.
“His four-kilogram claim is a real bonus as the boy rides really well.
“Boris has been well educated in riding through the input of his dad Glenn and his brother, successful jockey Damien.
“The Koroit Cup is a big drop in class for Sanagas.
“He ran well in the Caulfield Cup in 2012 before running in the Melbourne Cup in the same year.
“We had to start his campaign off somewhere and we thought the big track at Warrnambool would suit.”
The 33-year-old trainer, who has stables at Winslow and Caulfield, said he would have a better gauge with the German-bred stayer after the Koroit Cup.
“I’ve got races like the Hobart and Launceston cups in the back of my mind for Sanagas and we may look at a race like the Adelaide Cup in the future with him but we’ve got to get over the Koroit Cup first,” he said.
“He’s an old horse that has had a few niggles during his career but he appears to be over them now.
“He’s bright, fresh and that’s how he races best is when he’s fresh. We’ve done a bit of work with him so the 1700 metres is no worry.”
Maher said he had a healthy respect for Feeling Invincible, Hinchley Wood, Upbeat, Balayeur and Great Lane in the Koroit Cup.
“I would say it’s a stronger race than last year’s cup,” Maher said.
“I think the form from last week’s Woodford Cup will be a strong guide for the race.”
Warrnambool trainer Aaron Purcell heads to Caulfield with his former international galloper Initiator today chasing another metropolitan victory with the five-year-old.
Initiator won his last start at Caulfield with champion jockey Damien Oliver in the saddle.
Oliver will partner the horse again in the $80,000 race over 2000 metres.
Meanwhile, the Shipwreck Coast Showjumping Championships will also feature on Koroit Cup day, with more than $6000 in prizemoney.