Longford trainer John Blacker is planning to head in a different direction with one of Tasmania's most exciting horses.
The lightly-raced Swoop Dog could lay claim to being the best staying three-year-old in the state last season but probably won't be tried as a stayer again.
Instead, Blacker has mapped out a campaign for the gelding that will start with a first-up tilt at the Newmarket Handicap in December.
It will then be on to the weight-for-age races, with a possible stopover for the Devonport Cup.
Swoop Dog won last season's 1600m Tasmanian Guineas, beating the highly-rated First Accused, before stepping up to 2100m to easily win the Launceston Guineas.
He was then the first local horse home in the 2200m Tasmanian Derby when third to Victorian visitors Explosive Jack and Alloway.
Explosive Jack went on to frank the form by winning the $2.1 million ATC Derby at Randwick and $500,000 SA Derby at Morphettville.
However, none of that was enough to convince Blacker that Swoop Dog is a stayer.
"Sometimes three-year-olds can stay against their own age and make it look like they will stay as older horses," he said.
"But I think 1800m pulls this horse up at his best.
"We may look at the Devonport Cup over that distance and play it by ear after that.
"We could then look at freshening him up for the Thomas Lyons and the weight-for-age race on Launceston Cup day.
"In the meantime we'll target the Newmarket first-up then go to the Conquering over 1400m.
"We're restricted in what we can run him in because his rating is sky high at the moment."
Swoop Dog has been back in work since August 1 and Blacker couldn't be happier with his progress.
"He did what he did in basically his first racing campaign so we gave him a good five months off," the trainer said.
"He's come back really good."
While Swoop Dog will head down a different path to last season, it will be steady as she goes for another of Blacker's stable stars.
Launceston Cup winner Glass Warrior is likely to target the same races again.
"She also spelled really well and came back in the same time as Swoop Dog," the trainer said.
"We gave her a good break after she ran in the Mornington Cup (on March 20).
"We walked away from there a bit disappointed but, in hindsight, she was beaten 9-1/2 lengths in what was a pretty solid field.
"She has come back better than ever and is really well within herself.
"We'll just target most of the races she ran in last season but she'll miss the Longford Cup."
Glass Warrior has contested both the Hobart and Launceston Cups for the past two seasons.
In 2020 she ran third to Toorak Affair and Shady Hustle at Elwick before a fourth to Home By Midnight at Mowbray.
This year she was an unlucky seventh to Double You Tee in the Hobart Cup before winning the Launceston Cup in a three-way photo.
Shot Of Irish will carry the flag for Tasmania when he contests the group 2 $500,000 Feehan Stakes at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Tasmanian warhorse The Cleaner won the race twice, in 2014 and 2015, when it was known as the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes.
It returned to its original name two years ago.
DEROCHE (R1): Top class sprinting mare who looks thrown into this first-up assignment with the 2kg claim for top apprentice Codi Jordan. Is a 91-rater and will carry same weight as rivals rated 68 to 77. Has been very good in two recent trials and, although she won't be a betting proposition, her performance will be watched with interest as connections weigh up whether it's worth risking a trip to Melbourne.
MADETOBEBROKEN (2): Tasmanian-bred four-year-old returning home after two runs for Patrick Payne. Sat just off the pace when placed over 1000m at Mildura last start and, although he couldn't catch the two leaders, finished well clear of the rest. Had been backed from $6 into $3.80. Drawn well at first run for trainer and part-owner Nigel Schuuring and Brendon McCoull is likely to give him the run of the race.
GEE GEE REAL DEAL (R6): Better than her career record of 1 win from 11 starts might suggest as she was very green early on and has run into some handy horses. Close up at first three runs this campaign then had horrid run from wide draw at this track a fortnight ago. Drawn wide again but comes into barrier 8 if the emergencies don't get a run. Has the speed to take up forward position.
BRIDWOOD BELLA (R1): Won her first three starts last year at very short odds including a 1:57.4 win on debut. Went for a spell then failed at her only run back in the 3YO Fillies Championship in March. Has switched from the Rohan Hadley stable to Todd Rattray. Had quiet trial at Carrick four weeks ago and went well enough to suggest she'll be hard to beat first-up.
SUNNY SANZ (R5): Had only 10 starts in injury-interrupted career for nine wins including the 2019 Globe Derby final. Unbeaten in six starts at Mowbray. First-up for more than 18 months but has been to trials twice, winning mobile mile in 1:59.4 and standing-start beating Colby Sanz and Sea Double Ugrant. Class horse and his return adds lot of interest to the meeting.
LANCELOT (R7): Wound up a consistent two-year-old season with a third in the Dandy Patch final last October but really came into his own last time in when he was a very impressive winner of his three starts in April-May. As a 64-rater, he comes into this NR 56-62 race very well graded with his three-year-old allowance. Highly regarded by leading stable.
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