Tuesday, October 21, 2014
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Sherpa Tenzing To Climb Spring Heights

The last time Jim Conlan brought Sherpa Tenzing to Sydney the Victorian trainer says he erred with his tactics in the AJC Australian Derby.

Sherpa Tenzing settled in ninth position in the Group One classic and that's where he finished behind Shoot Out.

The lightly-raced son of Zabeel returns on Saturday to run first-up in the Premier's Cup (1800m) at Rosehill.

A strong showing in the Listed race has the potential to open more options for the lightly-raced stayer in the spring.

"I took him to Sydney for the Derby (in April) and I made a tactical error and had him ridden back in the field," Conlan said.

In hindsight Conlan believes the gelding's best chance would have been had he raced forward in the 2400-metre Randwick feature.

"I ran him next in the St Leger (2800m at Flemington) and he ran third but I really think that Derby day was probably his grand final and he was just going over the top for the St Leger."

Conlan has elected to kick-off Sherpa Tenzing's campaign in Sydney to get away from wet tracks in Melbourne and also because he would have been balloted out of the Listed Heatherlie Handicap (1700m) at Caulfield.

"I think he's going well and if he could win a race like this it makes my job easier to place him during the spring," the trainer said.

Sherpa Tenzing, whose only win in seven starts so far came on debut in a 1400-metre Sale maiden, is nominated for the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.

"(Qualifying for the Cups) would be the goal shared by the other 250 nominated for the Cup trying to get in there," Conlan said.

"It might be pie in the sky but that's where we're heading and we'll be perfectly happy if we end up going for Plan B or C."

Conlan said Sherpa Tenzing had done the necessary ground work to be fit enough to run 1800 metres first-up.

He will travel to Sydney on Friday and return to Victoria on Sunday, but another trip north later in the spring hasn't been ruled out.

The young stayer was rated by Conlan in the same bracket as two former Sydney Cup placegetters he trained - Manawa King and Philosophe.

"I really like the horse and have a hell of a lot of time for him," Conlan said.

"He's a beautifully clean-winded horse, he has a great action, a good temperament, he's strong and he has a fantastic pedigree - High Chaparral is a close relation on the female side."

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