Canberra trainer Nick Olive believes Single Gaze has had the perfect grounding as he prepares himself and his stable star for the biggest race of their careers.
Single Gaze races on a seven-day back-up in Saturday’s $3 million Caulfield Cup and Olive is looking forward to seeing what the mare can produce stepping up to 2400m.
Last year’s Group One Vinery Stud Stakes winner has not won this spring but has taken a weight-for-age route to the Cup, finishing fourth in the Underwood Stakes (1800m) and Caulfield Stakes (2000m) at her past two starts.
“Everything has just ticked over beautifully and I couldn’t be happier with her than what I am now,” Olive said.
“I think she’s in perfect condition and she has come through that last start better than the one before.”
Single Gaze fell on the home turn in last year’s Australian Oaks, the only time she has lined up in a 2400m race.
“She won the O’Shea Stakes in Brisbane over 2200 metres and she fell in the Oaks when she looked to be making a run into the race,” Olive said.
“So I’m looking forward to seeing what she can do over 2400.”
He felt her second in this year’s Brisbane Cup (2200m) on a seven-day back-up under 59kg was probably her best run that campaign.
Single Gaze has been stabled at Caulfield for the spring and Olive said it had been an awesome experience and a good learning curve for him.
He is excited to have his first Caulfield Cup runner.
“I don’t get time to think about it, to be honest, because you’re just thinking about making sure everything is right all the time and going through the motions of what you do every day,” he said.
“But I’m sure when it’s all over and I sit back I’ll think, ‘that was the most amazing experience’.”
Olive is unsure where Single Gaze will settle from barrier 12 and despite being at $34 he gives her a genuine chance.
“She meets some better at the weights and some worse but I just think dropping to 53 kilos is going to make a big difference for her,” he said.
“She’s a small horse and she hasn’t carried that sort of weight for a long time.
“I think the Caulfield Cup can be a high-pressure race and she thrives on pressure.”