Leading Victorian trainer Jeff Britton admits True Detective’s near-faultless middle distance record will receive its litmus test in Saturday night’s heats of the Group 1 Hume Cup (600m) at The Meadows.
Britton wasted absolutely no time in stepping True Detective up in distance, with the son of 2013 Melbourne Cup winner Black Magic Opal scoring over 600m at The Meadows at just his fifth start.
True Detective then proceeded to reel off seven victories from eight middle distance assignments at Sandown Park and The Meadows, with the ‘defeat’ coming when he ran third on overall time in the Group 3 Speed Star 595m match race series at Sandown.
“I stepped him up so early because he was finding too much trouble,” Jeff Britton explained.
“He was losing ten lengths and getting home. Hopefully now he’s a bit older he’s starting to learn.
“I thought he might have been a bit of a duffer in a field but he’s had the class to get himself out of trouble.
“When they’re racing against better dogs it might be a different story.”
After winning only one of his first four starts over sprint distances, True Detective has accumulated an imposing 10 from 16 record and Britton has already tested the staying waters, with his last two appearances coming over 715m at Sandown, including a first-up 42.09s victory.
While the heats of the $75,000 to-the-winner Hume Cup represent True Detective’s toughest task to date, he’s TAB’s $2.50 favourite from box five in the fourth of five heats, where Apex Within and Waging War, both $4.20 chances, loom as the main threats.
WATCH: True Detective (6) wins over 600m at The Meadows in July in a smart 34.29sec.
True Detective is also the $8 second elect in TAB’s All In Hume Cup market, with Tauwitchere the $6 favourite.
“He can run time, hopefully he can get out of the box,” Britton said.
“He has jumped okay but in lesser fields and this is a step up in grade.
“It’s a hot field, with Apex Within, Waging War and Chief Fernando, and he’s an unknown quantity at this level.
“He seems to jump and stay straight so I don’t think the box will worry him. He just really needs to get out.
“He had a go at staying and will probably end up going back to that. At his first 700m he won and got a bit tired and then last week the track was extremely heavy. When you start them off staying at a younger age they don’t always go that well but they seem to get better as they get older.”
Britton has three other up-and-coming Hume Cup contenders in Steinbrenner (heat 2) and littermates Miss Bellawood (heat 3) and Mister Harlewood (heat 5), a multiple Group finalist that is unbeaten in two 600m starts at The Meadows.
“If Mister Harlewood comes out well and gets rolling he’ll be hard to beat but it’s a very tough race too with Gwydion, Lucy’s Milo and Sweet As Emm,” Britton said.
“Miss Bellawood has probably been thrown to the wolves but she’s a good beginner and last week at The Meadows she ran third to the Sandown Cup winner (Rajasthan) and Tauwitchere and was only beaten two lengths.
“I’d like to see Steinbrenner drawn in a bit (further). He seems to come out better when he’s drawn inside.”
The Hume Cup Final will headline The Meadows’ traditional Melbourne Cup Eve meeting on Monday week, November 4.