Not An Option will be carrying the weight of his stable when he contests the Gr.1 Champagne Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday.
The promising two-year-old has become the only active runner for Cambridge trainer Tony Pike and he is hoping his charge can deliver on Saturday.
The son of Not A Single Doubt pleased his connections with his first-up effort in Australia when placing in the Gr.3 Kindergarten Stakes (1100m) at Randwick a fortnight ago and Pike said he has pulled up well since that run.
“We were really pleased with his run in the Kindergarten,” Pike said. “Over the 1100m, from the outside gate and to go back to last, it was always going to be a bit sharp for him. He was very strong over the final stages.
“Reports are really good and he has bounced through it in great order.
“He galloped on the course proper at Rosehill this (Tuesday) morning with an older country cups horse and worked really well over 1200m.
“Apparently he has pulled up very well. As long as we are happy with him over the next 24 hours he will line-up in the Champagne Stakes on Saturday.”
Not An Option hasn’t been tested over further than 1200m, but Pike believes the mile will be ideal for him on Saturday.
“He is bred to get over a little bit of a trip and we have always thought once he can stretch out over further it would really suit,” Pike said.
“It gives him a chance at a Group One race in Australia and improved track conditions will help him on Saturday as well.
“It doesn’t look like being a big field, but there is a fair bit of quality in it.”
While Pike is looking forward to Saturday he said a further Group One target awaits Not An Option in Queensland.
“If he runs well on Saturday we will probably wait and go straight into the JJ Atkins (Gr.1, 1600m) in Brisbane.
“That will give him time to get over the trip up there and I might just give him a quiet barrier trial in Brisbane before the JJ Atkins.”
Bred by Aquis Farm, Not An Option was secured by Curraghmore and Hallmark Stud's Mark Baker to bring him to New Zealand to offer him at the yearling sales at Karaka. He was purchased by Pike Curraghmore's draft during the Book 1 session at the National Yearling Sale for $240,000. -NZ Racing Desk, Curraghmore