Kalgoorlie trainer Paul Rowe has been pleasantly surprised by how well Californication has gone and he’s excited to see what more he can produce in the future.

Rowe didn’t have lofty expectations for Californication, but after a flying start to his career he now harbours high ambitions for the progressive four-year-old.

Californication has shot to prominence under Rowe’s guidance and quelled his doubts after buying the son of Preferment in an online auction sale.

Rowe bought Californication for a modest sum and less than he intended to spend, but he was a little concerned that the gelding had attracted limited bids.

Formerly a member of Danny O’Brien’s Melbourne team, Californication came to Rowe unraced, but it appears money well spent judging on early looks.

Californication has earned a cheque in every start, winning three races and placing twice in five appearances for $46,982 in prizemoney.

“He’s been a real surprise packet for us really,” Rowe told The Races WA.

“We bought the horse completely untried, hoping to win a maiden and go through a few classes.

“Turns out we might be going a bit better than that, he’s turned out pretty good.

“I’m still not certain why they didn’t go ahead with him in Melbourne.

“I thought I’d have a go with him and take a chance.

“I thought if I got him under $10,000 I would be doing pretty good.

“He turned out a lot cheaper than that.

“I was a bit worried because there wasn’t a lot of bids for him.

“I thought there might have been something wrong with him.

“But he seems to be one of the soundest horses I’ve had for a long time.

“He’s very mature physically but immature mentally, he’s still learning.”

Californication is favourite for Saturday’s Free Entry To Belmont Park Handicap (1600m), firming from $3.60 to $3.20.

It’s his second visit to the city after creating a good impression in June when a closing third to Planet Cash.

Stepping up to 1600m for the first time, Californication was a last-start winner over 1300m at Kalgoorlie.

“I would have liked one more hit out over 1400m, but I don’t think the mile will worry him,” Rowe said.

“He’s a very good winded horse and comes back in with a very good heart rate.

“At the moment I’d be quite confident with him running up to anything like 2000m.

“We’ll keep working him through the grades, but every time he goes out and wins I think how much further can he go.

“Do we push to something better?

“The next couple of runs will really tell us where we will go for the time being.

“He’ll have another run in Perth over the mile in a fortnight.”

Californication has drawn four. Lisa Staples retains the ride.

Julio Santarelli“