Keith Dryden is eyeing off a run in Saturday's Group 3 Doncaster Prelude (1500m) for stable star Handle The Truth at Rosehill.
Fresh from a strong win in the Listed National Sprint (1400m) earlier this month, the five-year-old is chasing more black-type success before ultimately being aimed at the $1.3m Kosciuszko in the spring, the race he won in 2019.
Handle The Truth is 22nd in the weights for Saturday's Doncaster Prelude ahead of acceptances on Wednesday morning.
Should he miss a start in that race, Dryden will saddle him up in the Group 3 Star Kingdom Stakes (1200m).
"My preferred option is the 1500m race if we can get a run in it. It's a tougher race on paper but, I think the horse has been looking for a mile," Dryden said.
"If I start in the Doncaster Prelude, I haven't got a plan yet after that. I'll just see how he goes and then whether we go to the paddock and have a break."
Should Handle The Truth earn a run in the Prelude, it'll mark the first time he's stepped out in a race longer than 1400m.
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Meanwhile, Dryden has a typically strong hand for Wednesday's seven-race program at Thoroughbred Park and has identified Knuckle Warrier as one of his better chances in the Class 1 Handicap (2000m).
The developing stayer was beaten just half a length at Albury last start.
"Bob Bowler [who owns this horse] who's now passed away... I'd love to see him win for them tomorrow," Dryden said.
"I've trained for long time clients that have been with me for a fair while."
Another value runner of Dryden's is Shenandoah in the benchmark 65 Handicap (1300m), which also finished as runner up last start.
"He's probably a better 1400m horse but atleast the 1300m suits him a bit better," Dryden said.
"He's got a bit of an attitude about him. But he is working nicely and I think he'll be competitive. He is a strong each-way chance."
Speedster Express Courier resumes in the Federal Handicap (1000m), but Dryden expected his best racing would come later in the preparation. "I've been looking for a race for him for a month," Dryden said.
Former leading jockey John Scorse provides all the tips you need for Canberra's March 31 meeting.
BEST BET: Race 6, No 6 Embeller - Both runs this prep very good and looks
set to peak at third run, she looks the best of the card.
No 4 Valiant Lad - Had trialled well before debut in strong Goulburn maiden, where he was slow away and worked hard, will be improved and extra distance suits.
No 5 Whatever it Takes - Looked good in only trial, from a noted first up stable, watch market.
No 2 Duke of Buckingham - Raced on pace and boxed on well last time, can only be fitter.
No 9 Meladia - Next best.
No 8 - Island Bay Boy - Lightly raced but looks a smart type, just mowed down second up, should peak and will be hard to beat.
No 7 Shenandoah - Stacked with ability but doesn't do himself any favours, will be close the speed throughout.
No 1 Royal Monarch - Super consistent type who is better for two runs this preparation, drawn to get all the favours.
No 4 Capri Lane - Next best.
No 5 - Rubaiya - Nice mare resuming off a long break but placed 4/8 in good company and big chance if ready.
No 4 Seeker of Fortune - Resuming here but has good ability, solid placing at Goulburn in good form line race.
No 6 Sifu - Consistent mare who is race fit against these, will need some luck from awkward gate.
No 6 The Unknown Factor - Resumed in a very hot race here over 1000m and went too quick, should be better for the run, and a great record this T/D, will lead for a long way here.
No 3 Calescent - Smart mare resuming here, but a 5-time winner this trip and very good fresh, claim will help watch market.
No 7 Look Only - Resumes here and has good talent, suited off a good speed and has a powerful finish.
No 1 Prairie Fire - Huge performance first up but has a huge impost here.
No 7 Knuckle Warrior - Improving with each run as he gets out in distance, put the writing on the wall last time and looks a beautiful race for him here
No 9 Californian - Stoutly bred miss who has impressed in both runs to date, races on speed out to this trip for the first time should suit.
No 8 Olmeto - Has always showed good ability, and probably more mature now.
No 10 Himiko - Next best.
No 6 Embeller - Consistent mare, set to peak third up, solid effort in strong class two, back in grade she looks the winner.
No 8 - Miss Magnum - Solid maiden winner two back, and backed it up with good performance in provincial class 1, drawn to get the right run here.
No 9 Timperley - Big effort first up off long break, at first appearance for new yard, can only improve.
No 10 Manila Thriller - Not without a chance here.
No 1 Vivid Art - Resumed this prep from one trial only and faded late, look for a big improvement from her out to her pet trip.
No 4 Larmour - Good mare on her day and no luck last time, back in distance but finds a nice race.
No 7 Casino Time - Yet to find his best this prep, but finds the right race here.