It may still be 10 months away, but trainer Jeremy Easthope is already eyeing off a Railway Stakes (1600m) start with stable star Upper Limits.
Last year’s Aquanita Stakes (2000m) winner will be looking to enhance his credentials for a start in the Group 1 feature when he lines up in Saturday’s Celebration Of Life Day Trophy (1500m) at Ascot.
The $100,000 event starts a defining period for Upper Limits, who will likely progress to the Ascot Mile (1600m) and Detonator Stakes (1800m) on February 3 and 24 respectively in a bid to boost his rating for the Railway Stakes.
Upper Limits heads into Saturday’s event first-up for five weeks, with his most recent start a third to Magnificent Andy on the final day of The Pinnacles.
Easthope said Upper Limits was forward enough to win on Saturday, despite missing a run over 1400m on last Saturday’s abandoned Ascot card.
“In a perfect world he would’ve started last week then jump in this grade,” Easthope told The Races WA.
“It’s only a little doubt I’ve got going into Saturday, but he’s a naturally fit horse.
“His gallop on Monday was a little harder than usual and his work this morning was good.
“I’m wrapped with how he’s going.”
Chris Parnham teams up with Upper Limits in Saturday’s feature and will start from barrier five, with his main danger Starry Heights drawn alongside him.
Easthope said he hoped drawing alongside the Grant and Alana Williams-trained runner could play into Upper Limits’ favour.
“He jumped well first-up but he was a bit tardy away last start,” he said.
“Hopefully he can be on the back of Starry Heights on Saturday and he will be able to roll into the race.
“I think Grant and Alana will have turned Starry Heights around and I expect he will go better on Saturday.
“His first two runs were really good and he can go to the next level with the right racing pattern.”
Starry Heights and Upper Limits are joint $2.80 favourites with TABtouch, with Cold Shizzle ($8.50) and Currimundi ($9.50) the only other runners in single figures.
A $10,000 purchase at the 2021 Adelaide Magic Millions sale, Upper Limits has won more than $200,000 in prize money and his deeds aren’t lost on Easthope.
“He’s a dream,” Easthope said.
“If he has a couple of wins in the next few weeks, he could setup a small business like mine.
“It’s a good time to be winning with the sales ahead and his half-brother is in the Sydney Classic sale next month.
“Some of the boys are driving me mad about that one.”
Saturday’s Celebration Of Life Day Trophy gets underway at 3.40pm.