Trainer Mitch Beer is hoping his first overseas purchase, Perfect Illusion, can develop into a potential Tasmanian Cups candidate over the summer.
At Sandown Hillside on Wednesday, Beer will give the former European a chance to take a significant step towards those races when he lines up in the Clanbrooke Racing Handicap (2400m).
“He’s a dyed in the wool stayer and he’s improving all the time. I think he’s got the right form to win at Sandown,” Beer said.
Beer said Perfect Illusion’s last-start second to Chris Waller’s Japanese import Miyake at Warwick Farm was good enough form for the midweek race.
“He’s dropping from a benchmark 72 to a benchmark 64 and Waller’s horse is a promising stayer,” Beer said.
“That was also his first run over 2400 metres so he’ll be fitter again.”
On that occasion, Perfect Illusion attempted to lead throughout but was run down by Miyake in the closing stages.
Beer said he elected to use the one-and-a-half kilo claim of apprentice Teo Nugent aboard Perfect Illusion on Wednesday to reduce his weight to 59kg.
The trainer bought Perfect Illusion from England last year and said they got him for a cheap price.
“I think the cost in flying him over was as much as the purchase price,” he said.
Perfect Illusion has had nine starts for Beer and has finished second at his past two runs.
Beer said he had targeted this time of the year with Perfect Illusion as stayers in Melbourne were well catered for over the summer and he planned to be a regular visitor.
“I know he’s in a benchmark 64 but I think he can work through his grades and could end up in Tasmania for the Cups,” Beer said.
The Albury trainer is also finding life much easier with the reopening of the borders between Victoria and NSW.
“When I had a runner in Melbourne, none of the staff could go and the horse would have to be there 24 hours before the race, which meant getting it ready to go at 4 am the morning before the race. It was a big operation,” he said.
Beer has also bought former classy Sydney sprinter Spending To Win at an online auction for $20,000 and the galloper is getting close to making his debut for the stable.
Spending To Win was entered for the 1000 metre race at Flemington on Saturday but Beer said he would wait another week or two to run.
He said the horse was in good shape but was yet to trial and wasn’t quite ready to go to the races.