Whatever emerges at Ascot on Saturday, trainer David Harrison believes he’ll have answers to unresolved questions.
Harrison is still uncertain on what path he should take with his top three-year-old Gemma’s Son.
Major races are on the horizon, including two Group 1 events, but according to Harrison the picture will become clearer on the weekend.
Harrison settled on the Group 2 WAROA-Lee Steere Stakes (1400m) for Gemma’s Son over the Listed Fairetha Stakes (1400m) against his own age group.
Gemma’s Son carries 53kg in the Lee Steere Stakes, career-low weight and has drawn favourably in barrier five.
58kg and a wide gate would have awaited Gemma’s Son if Harrison accepted for the Fairetha Stakes.
Harrison said weight, race tempo and a wide barrier were the pivotal reasons in his decision.
“He would have pulled to the front with no pace in the race (Fairetha Stakes) and had a gut buster with the weight,” Harrison said.
“He would have been a sitting shot out in front and going forward I would have learnt nothing out of the race.
“In the Lee Steere he can sit off them and hopefully finish off and run out a strong race.
“It’s a throw at the stumps to see where he is at, but I believe it’s the right option.”
Gemma’s Son made a cracking start to his racing career as a juvenile by winning his first four races in sparkling style before suffering his first loss when fourth in the Group 2 Karrakatta Plate (1200m) last April.
A $20,000 Magic Millions yearling, Gemma’s Son made a top return as a three-year-old in September when he led strongly to win by 1 ¼ lengths.
Next start he attempted to blow his opposition apart from the front again, but couldn’t withstand the menacing pressure of boom filly Clairvoyance and faded to third.
Gemma’s Son goes into the Lee Steere Stakes running fourth to Magical Dream in last fortnight’s Belgravia Stakes (1200m).
Yet to race beyond 1200m in his eight start career, Harrison says Gemma’s Son can answer a class and distance query in the Lee Steere Stakes.
“If he runs a strong 1400m then we can think about progressing to the WA Guineas (1600m) and then potentially the Kingston Town Classic (1800m),” Harrison said.
“If he runs a good race but doesn’t get the 1400m he can drop back to the Winterbottom Stakes (1200m).
“If he runs poorly then he could go back to his own age group in the Placid Ark Stakes (1200m) or weaker races.
“I’m just not sure if he is up to the class.
“That’s why Saturday will answer a lot of questions for everyone.”
Gemma’s Son has Joe Azzopardi on for the first time in the Lee Steere Stakes.
The Snippetson colt is $6 in a wide-open Tab market.