Kluger looking sharp for mighty Mile test
HE'S arguably the biggest unknown in a race full of unknowns.
Japanese raider Kluger has improved each day since arriving in Australia and the news for his connections only got better at Tuesday's barrier draw for the Group 1 $3m Doncaster Mile (1600m) when they found out he'd be starting from gate four.
His trainer, Tomokazu Takano, has already won his country's biggest race, the Japan Cup, and thinks he can get the job done in Australia's biggest mile race.
"He galloped on the course proper from the 1400m on Tuesday morning with Tommy Berry on board and they gradually built up the pace coming into the straight," he said.
"We asked Tommy to test his response and he did a little bit of fast work and we were very happy with how he worked. He was a lot sharper than a week before so everything's on track.
"I'm extremely happy with the draw. I was a little concerned that a wide gate wouldn't be ideal but as far as putting him into the race, it's the perfect gate."
The Randwick track was rated a Soft 7 on Wednesday and with a shower or two expected later in the week it should have plenty of give in it.
Interestingly, Takano said his horse wouldn't struggle in the wet even though he comes from a racing jurisdiction where the tracks are notoriously hard. He's had 13 runs on firm rated tracks, four on good surfaces and just one on rain-affected ground.
But he ran third that day in Group 3 company.
"We're not frightened of getting a bit of rain between now and the race and he should have no problems handling the track," Takano said.
"The tracks are in fantastic condition and if anything a touch more rain, making it slightly softer, wouldn't do my horse any harm."
Kluger has raced many times over 2000m and has won at the trip.
Which is a good thing considering the Randwick 1600m often races more like a 2000m race.
Takano thinks his horse will be running through the line based on how much his trackwork has improved in a short time since arriving on Australian shores.
"I've got no problems with the (Randwick) mile because my horse has good stamina and if it's a hard run mile it may help him so I've got no concerns with him getting the trip if it's solidly run," he said.
"It's a little bit hard to put into words what it would feel like to win a Doncaster but I want to experience it."