Trainer Archie Alexander is unsure what imported galloper Southern Rock will produce in his Australian debut at Caulfield, it has been reported.
With Southern Rock set to join stablemate Kiwia in a handicap over 1600m on Saturday, Alexander hopes to have a better insight into the capabilities of the Irish-bred four-year-old following the race.
Southern Rock began his career with Andre Fabre in France before joining Dave O’Meara’s stable in England, and so far he has won four of his eight starts.
“He’s a bit of weird horse to get a guide on so it will be interesting to see him kick off, but he has got a lot of ability” Alexander is reported to have said.
“We’ve got no idea where this horse will get to, whether he’s a benchmark horse or whether he might be a group horse.
“And I’ve got no idea if he’s a miler, 2000 or a 2400-metre horse.
“He’s run in listed races in England but we’ll start him off quietly and see where he gets to.”
Southern Rock arrived in Australia last year, and since then Alexander has been working on getting him to put on weight and strengthening him for the preparation ahead.
Southern Rock’s level of progression this campaign will be revised after his first couple of races.
“This prep is a learning process with him,” Alexander said.
“I’ve said to the owners he never wins a gallop by much, he doesn’t finish far behind them by much, and only does enough.
“He doesn’t pull in his gallops but at the end he doesn’t want to stop, so he is an interesting one.”
Meanwhile Alexander has said that stablemate Kiwia would have a brief campaign then a break ahead of a spring campaign next year.
Kiwia has not raced since winning the Ballarat Cup last November, and according to Alexander that race was likely to be a target once again.
“We’ve on purpose brought him along slowly but he’s ready for a nice first run back over a mile,” Alexander said.
“He’s going to have a bit of a Lloyd Williams style preparation, a couple of runs in the autumn and then put away for a break and get him up for the spring.
“The Ballarat Cup will be his spring aim, but if he happened to put his hand up for something else, I’d be happy.”