DAN O’Sullivan says Tuscan Fire’s first time in group 1 company at Flemington on Saturday will gauge where he stands among the spring elite.
Tuscan Fire lines up in the group 1 $350,000 Makybe Diva Stakes, 1600m.
The seven-year-old, which yesterday received 52kg for the Caulfield Cup, will jump from gate one in a field which features Melbourne Cup favourite Puissance de Lune.
Luke Currie takes the ride.
Puissance de Lune has drawn barrier five for fellow Ballarat trainer Darren Weir.
O’Sullivan said he had an option of waiting another week and going to Moonee Valley with Tuscan Fire, but had chosen to go to the gelding’s favourite track.
Tuscan Fire has a super record at Flemington, with three wins and two minor placings in six starts.
With the Makybe Diva Stakes being weight-for-age, Tuscan Fire will carry 59kg – the same as all but mare Let’s Make Adeal.
O’Sullivan said the race would provide a guide as to where Tuscan Fire rated against stayers which would carry 6kg and 7kg more than him in the Caulfield Cup if he was to start.
O’Sullivan is delighted with the 52kg. He was expecting 52kg or 53kg.
While other nominations down near the bottom of the weights with Tuscan Fire might need a penalty to force their way in to the final field on October 19, O’Sullivan has the luxury of knowing his charge is guaranteed a start no matter where he sits on the weight scale.
Tuscan Fire earned exemption from a ballot by taking out the Mornington Cup in the autumn.
Last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Green Moon has the top weight of 59kg for the Caulfield Cup.
Melbourne Cup runner-up Red Cadeaux is next on 58.5kg and new import Sea Moon 58kg.
Ballarat district’s Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock-owned Dandino has 55kg.
Dandino is trained in England by Italian mentor Marco Botti and is a last-start American St Leger winner.
WEIGHTS for other Ballarat-connected Caulfield Cup nominations:
St Mark 50kg
The Cleaner 51kg
De Fine Lago 50kg
Prince Harada 49kg
Lucky Angel 50kg
Lake Sententia 50kg
Ava’s Delight 50kg
* Trainers with satellite stable in Ballarat