Canberra trainer Mick Miladinovic. Photo: Adam Hollingworth
Mick Miladinovic is hoping Micalong can launch a Canberra Cup campaign at Thoroughbred Park on Friday - albeit a year after he first planned.
The Canberra trainer was hoping his son of Zariz would jump in last autumn's listed $200,000 cup (2000 metres), but a foot abscess and a ligament strain stalled those plans and Micalong will return from a six-month spell in the benchmark 75 handicap (1400 metres) at Canberra on Friday.
Miladinovic is looking for his topweight to just finish strongly before stepping the six-year-old up towards Cup distance.
He rates the 2000m trip as Micalong's best; he's won two from three over the distance.
In his last race before his injury, he won the Orange Cup (1600m) - and Miladinovic has a similar cups plan for him this preparation.
He thought there were several races that should suit the gelding, provided he gets through Friday's meeting in good shape.
''You've got to aim for something,'' Miladinovic said. ''Whether it works out is another story, but that's what I'd like to do.
''Not just the Canberra Cup, there's the Wagga Cup, the Albury Cup those sort of races coming up … when he won the Orange Cup we were going to go for the Wagga Cup and the Albury Cup, but that's when he had that problem and had an abscess.
''So things fell apart a little bit.''
Miladinovic thought Micalong had injured himself during track work on Canberra's Acton track.
''He ended up getting a bit hurt. He had a foot abscess and he tore a bit of a ligament, just a minor thing, but we ended up giving him a six-month spell and he's come back in pretty good order,'' he said.
''We're going for 1400m first-up. We're hoping to ride him quiet and get him to settle a bit better than he has been in his races because I'm aiming to race him in the Canberra Cup.''
Miladinovic wished he'd started training the horse ''a little bit earlier''.
He took over from David Blundell nearly three years ago.
It was his son's relationship with the owners' daughter that led to the trainer change.
''The owners come from Tumut. It's sort of a long story, they've been wanting me to train him for quite a while,'' Miladinovic said.
''I was happy training my own horses … but they're friends of the family now, my son's very good friends with their daughter.
''And I've known them for years, the girls from the Groves [family] went to uni in Canberra with my kids and worked together and one thing led to another … now I've got five of theirs.''
Canberra is hosting an eight-race meet on Friday, starting at 1.18pm.