Raymond Tusk could attempt to book his place on All-Weather Championships Finals Day by going for a fast-track qualifier at Newcastle on Saturday, less than six weeks after running in the Melbourne Cup.
The four-year-old appears to have taken his trip to Australia so well that connections are thinking of targeting the big Good Friday meeting at Lingfield, with the Betway Conditions Stakes a likely quick way in to the Marathon.
Trainer Richard Hannon came up with the idea because the horse is in such good condition on his return from Flemington, where he was only beaten five lengths in 16th place in the ‘race that stops a nation’.
“He’s come back and looks fantastic in his coat. He’s cantering every day – you wouldn’t know he’d had a race,” said Tim Palin, partner and director for owners, Middleham Park Racing.
“Richard rang me at the weekend and said this horse is so well had we thought about Finals Day and the Marathon.
“He’s lost his Group Two penalties now so he comes into the 2020 season with no penalties, so it seemed a logical idea.
“Richard said he only has to give him one piece of work because he only ran six weeks ago and can be ready to go, so he put the entry in.
“As long as the piece of work goes well he’ll probably run at the weekend. It’s a win and you’re in and if he were to win we’d probably go straight to Finals Day.
“If he didn’t win then we’d have to regroup and see what we do. Do we qualify him by the ratings method by running him three times.
“His rating (113) would see him go very close in the Marathon.
“The prize-money on Finals Day is fantastic and it’s a great day out for the owners again. It’s seriously on our agenda, if things go well at the weekend.”