This Saturday’s Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) kick starts a huge month for popular Perth galloper Material Man, who is now set to race every week up to next month’s All Star Mile at Flemington.
Trainer Justin Warwick had earmarked the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) as the final run for Material Man before the All Star Mile.
However, Warwick has decided to keep the gelding’s fitness levels up by running him in the Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) and Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 2 and 9 respectively, prior to the All Star Mile the following week.
The top 10 vote getters gain a start in the All Star Mile, while there are an additional four wildcards decided upon by Racing Victoria.
Material Man was just inside the top 10 for All Star Mile voting when the blackout came in last Friday and his hopes of staying in the top 10 increased yesterday when connections of the most popular vote getter The Autumn Sun advised he wouldn’t run in the race.
The top 10 will be unveiled by Racing Victoria tomorrow.
Warwick told The Races WA he could keep the galloper in shape for the All Star Mile by racing him every week and was confident he would be able to handle it.
“There’s two ways we could go,” he said.
“One way was working him a bit harder going into the mile race.
“Or it was putting an extra race in, the mile race next week before the Australian Cup.
“I just think that’ll suit him better.
“We can do less with him during the week and let the racing keep him in stead.”
Material Man has drawn barrier four for this week’s $500,000 Futurity Stakes at Caulfield, where he meets a similar field to what he did in the Orr Stakes a fortnight ago, where he finished sixth to Manuel.
As well as Manuel, Land Of Plenty, Brave Smash and Best Of Days all beat Material Man home in the Orr Stakes and they are among his 11 rivals this weekend.
Boom mare Alizee was installed the $2.50 favourite for the Group 1 event earlier in the week, following her impressive win in the Expressway Stakes at Rosehill earlier this month.
Warwick said he wasn’t deterred by what is set to be a stronger field than the Orr Stakes.
“Everything is great with him at the moment,” he said.
“He’s put on three or four kilos since he last raced.
“All we can do is get our horse in the best condition he can be.
“Hopefully we might ride him a bit more positive if they go a bit slow in the middle stages, which they can do at Caulfield.
“I think we took a lot of learning out of the first-up effort.”
The Futurity Stakes gets underway at 12.30 on Saturday afternoon.