Trainer Matthew Williams has a spring plan for Harbour Views that is all about success on racing’s biggest stage at The Valley.
Harbour Views steps out beyond 1600m for the first time in the Inglis July Sales Series Handicap (2040m) on Saturday, a race Williams hopes will lead to a start in October’s Cox Plate.
But for the plan to work, Harbour Views needs to win on Saturday to earn his way into better company.
An early spring assignment is the Feehan Stakes at The Valley in September which affords the winner a ballot exemption into the Cox Plate.
However Williams is mindful that even with success on Saturday, Harbour Views may still be borderline of making that early spring target.
Harbour Views will have his first run at The Valley, a tighter than usual track for the five-time winner from eight career starts.
“I assume he’ll get around it alright,” Williams said.
“If he can stay one-off the fence and have a bit of room I’m sure he’ll be fine while the soft track is a plus also.
“I’m keen to see him at 2000 metres. His pedigree suggests that is his go, but if he was spot on he’d be capable of winning a good race at a mile.
“Assuming he does what we hope on Saturday he can then have a few weeks in the paddock and build towards the Feehan.”
Williams was taken with Harbour Views first-up run on heavy ground at Sandown but was left deflated with the gelding’s third-placed finish behind Chapel City in the RA Lee Stakes, his first outing in stakes grade, at Morphettville last start.
“I thought at the 300 (metres) he was going to win by two or three lengths the way he loomed into it,” Williams said.
“But he pulled up with a bit of mucus in his throat, so I’m putting that run down to that and that’s why we’ve given him the month in between.
“We treated the mucus with some antibiotics but his work on Tuesday was excellent and he’s jumping out of his skin.”
A stumbling block may be the presence of German import Django Freeman who will be lining up for his second Australian with his jockey Craig Williams describing him as exciting horse.