Progressive three-year-old Nonconformist faces his biggest test when he steps up to stakes grade for the first time in the Autumn Classic at Caulfield.
The three-year-old confirmed his spot in Saturday’s Group Two 1800m-race when he backed up a six-length maiden win at Pakenham with a city victory at Caulfield over 1600m three weeks ago.
If Nonconformist performs well in the Autumn Classic, trainer Grahame Begg has the Group Two Alister Clark Stakes (2040m) in mind before giving him a break and setting him for the spring carnival.
Begg is mindful Nonconformist is in his first racing preparation but says the up-and-coming gelding has ticked all the boxes so far.
“He hasn’t shown us anything to say that he has gone backwards or anything like that,” Begg said.
“He’s pretty untapped and I don’t think we’ve got to the bottom of him yet. I expect him to run very well.
“Obviously he’s giving weight to a Group One Oaks winner in Miami Bound so that will be a challenge but she is first-up and he is rock-hard fit.”
Begg believes a relatively small field of nine will also be a factor in relation to the pace of the race but says Nonconformist has shown versatility.
“It would be lovely to get a sit, give him a chance to switch off and run home,” he said.
The trainer has chances in two stakes races on Saturday, with fellow last-start winner Miss Siska also on the third line of betting for the Group Two Peter Young Stakes (1800m).
She will be out to press her claims for the upcoming Group One Australian Cup (2000m) having won the Group Three Carylon Cup (1600m) two weeks ago.
“She looks in fantastic order,” Begg said.
“She’s not as well weighted this time under weight-for-age.
“She was well-treated under the set weights plus penalties conditions last start, getting in with 55 kilos, but we’re very comfortable with the way she’s progressed since the run.”