With his record of six wins all scored on the Polytrack, GOLIATH is the surprise entry in this Sunday's Group 3 Three Rings Trophy over 1,400m. But trainer Steven Burridge obviously believes it is not always about "horses for courses".
The Australian trainer has never made it a secret about his main objective for the Darci Brahma four-year-old being the Group 1 Emirates Singapore Derby on July 13. There is only one hitch, though. The Derby is run on turf.
When Goliath (No. 1, left) bounced back from an ordinary run on turf nine days earlier to straightaway land a Polytrack race over 1,800m, the consensus would have been "keep off the grass".
While Burridge recognised that Goliath would never win any turf award, he was not pulling his foot completely out of the Derby door either. He did, however, suggest that another run on turf was needful if the Jupiter Stable-owned galloper was to be in with a shout.
Though the Derby is five months away, the Three Rings Trophy did tick the right box for some grass practice.
"Why not let him have a run? He pulled up like he never ran at his last race and as the Polytrack Mile Championship is still three weeks away, I thought I might as well run him in the Three Rings Trophy," said Burridge.
"I did say after his last win I may give him another run on grass. You turn four only once and I'd like to think he can still be a Derby horse."
Burridge is under no illusions that Goliath, whose rating went up by five points to 86 after his last success, has his job cut out in the Three Rings Trophy, let alone the Derby, but fortune favours the brave.
"He did run twice on soft tracks early in his career, but didn't go that well," said Burridge. "I thought maybe he'd run better when he hits a good track, but he still didn't go any better at his last start."
At Goliath's second-last outing, he beat one home in a Class 2 turf race over 1,600m won by Bendicion, herself a Singapore Derby hope for trainer Hideyuki Takaoka.
"But you've got to keep trying. It's a tough Group 3 race, but it's a small field and you never know what can happen," he said. "We'll play it by ear and then decide whether to press on with the Derby."
Goliath, who has developed a successful partnership with jockey Corey Brown (five wins), will, however, be reunited with Burridge's apprentice jockey A'Isisuhairi Kasim, who was his winning partner at his other win.
Brown is committed to the Laurie Laxon-trained Goodman, one of the Three Rings leading fancies with Zac Spirit among the other six entries.
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