Melbourne targets on the horizon for Sagunto

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A trip to Melbourne could be on the cards for Sagunto after his brave runner-up result in the Group 3 Stakes (2100m) on Saturday.

From his outside barrier (14), the seven-year-old gelding was sent forward early by and co-trainer to take up his customary front-running role.

McKay gave his charge his head and he quickly distanced his rivals, opening up a 10-length down the backstraight. The son of O'Reilly continued to apply pressure and had several margins up his sleeve turning for home.

He looked to have the race won with 100m to go, however, promising stayer Ladies Man was able to call on his qualities to pip Sagunto at the post for a half-neck victory.

Co-trainer was pleased with the run but admitted to being slightly disappointed at losing the race right on the line.

“It is disappointing when you get dive-bombed in those last few , but he has been running out of his skin lately,” McKay said.

His Group Three placing follows victory in the Group 3 (2300m) at Trentham last month and a runner-up result in the Listed Marton Cup (2200m) at the Upper Hutt track last week, and McKay said the addition of blinkers has worked wonders.

“He likes to free-rein a little bit. In his early races we used to put the pressure on a fair way out. He breathes a lot better,” McKay said.

“He got a little lapse on it late last season, so we put blinkers on him. Shaun did try to get a couple of softer sectionals going into the back straight yesterday, but he started to pull hard, so he let him do his own work.

“I have always said not to look back, just do whatever the horse is happy with. It is a hard one, but it all but paid off.

“We had them parked up behind us turning for home and it took Ladies Man, the () Cup (Group 3, 3200m) favourite, to run him down.

“He is not putting himself too high up in the ratings and he is picking up some nice .”

Sagunto does not hold a nomination for the Wellington Cup in a fortnight, so McKay is contemplating backing him up at Pukekohe this coming Saturday in the (2200m) instead of paying the late nomination fee.

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