Ilovethegame (Image: Racing Photos)
Greg Eurell thinks progressive gelding Ilovethegame can run a 'cheeky race' third-up on Saturday at Flemington.
The three-year-old is stepping out to 1400m for the first time and returns to Headquarters after two runs at The Valley.
The top two in the market met last start in the Listed McKenzie Stakes (1200m), with Free To Move having Ilovethegame's measure as the pair finished third and fourth respectively.
But Eurell's gelding meets him 1.5kg better at the weights this time and the Cranbourne-based trainer thinks the son of Ilovethiscity should get a perfect run from barrier three, able to roll forward from the nice gate.
"I'd be disappointed if he didn't run a cheeky race, Saturday should answer a few questions about what level we can aim for with him," Eurell said.
"He worked very sharply on Tuesday and has bounced out of that too so he's ready to put in a big performance."
Eurell has a team of five headed to Flemington, with Star Missile also having worked particularly well in the lead-up before stepping out to 1800m in Saturday's Rogan Josh Handicap.
The Smart Missile gelding impressed when he narrowly missed out on victory resuming two starts ago at Flemington and Eurell is confident he's got the horse in the right order to bounce back from a plain run when second-up at Ballarat over 1400m.
"He enjoys Flemington and he'll love getting out to 1800m," he said.
"To be honest I probably got it a bit wrong at Ballarat and shouldn't have given him a second-straight run at 1400m after he'd run so well at Flemington.
"I'd be going in really confident if he hadn't drawn the inside again.
"He's been working really well and is confident in himself but the barrier is the most concerning part of it, he needs to get into a lovely rhythm early and I'm not sure if he'll get that chance from the inside given that he's a big horse and the way he isn't quick out of the gates.
"Saying that, I wouldn't be too surprised if either of them was able to win, we'll just have to wait and see."