Trainer Rob O’Brien has issued a stern test to Just A Falcon but believes the promising five-year-old will be up to the challenge.
O’Brien believes he has a good horse on his hands but how good and how far he can progress will be determined after he contests the Westspeed Stayers’ Handicap (2000m) at Belmont on Saturday.
The Kalgoorlie galloper gave O’Brien a glimpse of what he was capable off when at his final campaign run last September he withered home from the back of the field to score a strong victory over 1760m.
The son of Fighting Falcon capped his return and earned a shot a city competition when he ran home from ninth on the turn to defeat Big Josh by a long neck on his home track last week.
O’Brien concedes Just A Falcon has to overcome several hurdles: his first attempt at the journey, a maiden trip to Perth and a six day back-up, but he is keen to see how the gelding measures up to the contest.
“Everyone keeps telling me he is a budding superstar so now it’s time for him to display it,” said O’Brien.
“This will tell me whether he is good enough to tackle the Coolgardie, Boulder and Kalgoorlie Cups later in the year.
“He has run out the mile trip on his ear so I don’t think the 2000m is going to bother him.
“The travel won’t hurt him as he is a laid back horse who spends most of his time sleeping in the yard.
“He had a hit out on Tuesday and the track rider was rapt in his work.
“He is a nice horse who is showing and displaying all the right signs.
“But this is an acid test that will answer a few questions for me.
“I’m not saying he will win but they will know he is there with 50m remaining.”
Just A Falcon, who has four wins and three placings from 11 starts, will jump from barrier five for apprentice Renee Forrest.
O’Brien and Forrest combine again with Saxapak in the Kalgoorlie Retravision Handicap (1760m) on Sunday.
The Saxon gelding has solid claims and should be approaching peak fitness after a strong finishing effort a week ago.
The six-year-old was doing his best work late when 1 ¼ length third to Charlie’s Joy over 1600m.
“It’s his first go beyond a mile but he gives me every indication of handling the step-up,” said O’Brien.
“Renee said he was coming home beautifully last week.”