A return to middle distance racing has Matamata trainers Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott confident that Charles Road can produce an improved performance two weeks out from his main Sydney spring target. The Myboycharlie six-year-old, Charles Road, who races as Sir Charles Road in Australia, steps up to 2000m in Saturday’s Group 3 Kingston Town Stakes at Randwick after unplaced runs over shorter distances in his lead-up races.
Charles Road produced an eye-catching run for seventh resuming in Sydney over 1400m before finishing last of 14 in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Randwick a fortnight ago after getting back in running in a race won off the front by Samadoubt. “We’re really pleased with how the horse is coming up and how he’s racing. His results have been a little disappointing but his races have been good,” Scott said.
“Both runs, he’s just lacked a little bit of luck. He just needs galloping room to allow him to wind up. But those runs have been beneficial to him and his fitness levels are starting to rise and he’s getting closer. “We believe the horse is coming up well and he should be in for a good preparation. We’re pleased with the way the campaign is going but we’ve now just got to start figuring a little closer to those photo finishes.”
Charles Road was also accepted for Friday’s Group 3 Newcastle Cup (2300m) with jockey Andrew Adkins engaged for both races, but O’Sullivan and Scott felt the Randwick feature was a more suitable option.
A winner of six of his 33 starts and placed in last year’s Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick, Charles Road has raced at 3200m four times, including a seventh-placed finish in last year’s Melbourne Cup at Flemington, so the step up in distance on Saturday should be more suitable, even accounting for a likely heavy track. “We’d dearly like to think he’d start to become a lot more competitive this weekend,” Scott said. “Hopefully the ground is not going to be too bad. We’re a bit worried about the track. They’ve had a lot of rain in Sydney, though he has handled wet ground in the past.
“He looks great and now stepping up to 2000m, he’s certainly in the right condition that he’s going to race a lot more competitively. We couldn’t be happier with the way he’s coming to hand and working going into Saturday. We’re confident that he should perform well. “First run over ground, they are always vulnerable and especially him doing that on wet ground but he’s forward enough to be competitive and we’re two weeks out from the Metrop. “That’s the race we’re targeting for him to run his best race and that will be the race which will determine which way we go.”
The Group 1 Metropolitan Handicap (2400m) at Randwick on October 5 is not only Charles Road’s Sydney spring aim but will play an important role in whether he can secure a place in this year’s field for the Group 1 $A7.75 million Melbourne Cup (3200m) on November 5. “We’ve got to sneak up the weights a wee bit more. He’s around about 55 (on the entry order) but that’s about where he was last year and they fell away in front of him,” Scott said of the Flemington showpiece. “We’re hoping he can sneak up the ladder and he’s obviously got to prove he’s racing well enough to be in those races. We’re pleased with him but he’s just got to find a bit of form.”