Beltoro on trial for Australian Guineas
Robert Hickmott wants to see undefeated three-year-old Beltoro put in another good run before he commits to an Australian Guineas campaign.
The Toronado gelding has created a big impression with his fast-finishing wins to score at Bendigo and Flemington at his only starts.
Hickmott will accept with Beltoro for a 1400 metre Benchmark 70 race against his own age at Caulfield on Saturday and will keep a Flemington race in the same class over 1700 metres on New Year’s Day as his back-up.
“He can’t run every start at Flemington and it would be good for his education to run at Caulfield,” Hickmott said.
“There’s different dynamics between Caulfield to Flemington and he will need to be closer in the run but I think he can.
“He’s a gelding – we’re not after a Black Caviar stretch of wins. He’s got to learn to handle these tracks.”
In terms of the Group One Australian Guineas at Flemington on February 27, Hickmott said the horse would need to go close to winning at Caulfield.
The trainer admits Beltoro’s form has taken him by surprise.
“He’s a nice horse and I haven’t really tied him down yet. He’s been doing it off his natural ability,” Hickmott said.
“He’s been a slow learner and his sharpness has surprised me.”
Hickmott said in some ways the Flemington race would suit Beltoro more than Caulfield but he felt the latter would be better for his education.
Jack Hill retains the mount after partnering Beltoro in both runs with his last-start victory providing the jockey with his first city winner in four years.
“There are a lot of the boys like him who don’t get opportunities. Jack’s a good rider and I’ve got no issue putting him on,” Hickmott said.
Hickmott said his former boss Lloyd Williams was excited with Hill’s victory and rang him that night after the race.
“He really likes Jack. He did a lot of track work for us at Mount Macedon,” he said.
After Beltoro has his next run, Hickmott said he would have a ten day freshen up before being prepared for the Australian Guineas.