Firm deck a concern for Alexander’s stayer

Archie Alexander is convinced former English stayer Young Rascal is ready to run a big race but he’s worried he is going to again be facing his nemesis of firm ground at Flemington.

“I’m happy with him but he just needs to get his toe into the ground,” Alexander said.

“The way it’s shaping on Saturday he’s going to have to run on a good three which doesn’t suit him. I feel it’s going to be a bit firm for him.”

Young Rascal and stablemate Haky will be running in The Bart Cummings over 2510 metres on Saturday, a race which carries a golden ticket into the Melbourne Cup.

Young Rascal is already assured of a Cup start as he is number 22 in the order of entry.

He is also guaranteed a berth in the Caulfield Cup at 21st in the order but Alexander says he needs to show some form to continue on that path.

“He’s got to be competitive in a race like this to push on to those sort of races,” he said.

The former English stayer has had two starts for Alexander for two unplaced runs, the latest when eighth at Flemington over 2500 metres behind Lord Belvedere when he worked forward and tired.

Alexander said Young Rascal would be suited by a weight drop from 62kg to 60.5kg from that run and also jockey John Allen getting to know him better.

“He’ll be ridden quietly and with cover. He’ll relax and get cover from that barrier and that will make a difference,” Alexander said.

OTI Racing and the Ballarat-based trainer are keen to get stablemate Haky into the Melbourne Cup but at 46th in the order of entry, he needs to win on Saturday.

“I’m expecting him to run well. He got too aggressive second up and his first up run was good,” Alexander said.

“If he can get some cover in second or third placing he’ll run a big race as he likes Flemington.”

Haky, who will be ridden by Declan Bates, was successful over 2600 metres at Flemington on Anzac Day.