Connors favours Doncaster for Chasm

Emerging star Chasm will skip Saturday’s Group Three Eclipse Stakes at Sandown and be aimed at next year’s Group One Doncaster Handicap.

HeathConnors Trainer Heath Conners said the autumn was now a priority for the four-year-old son of Umatilla after his last-to-first victory in last Saturday’s Group Three Race-Tech Stakes (1500m) at Sandown.

"He has pulled up 110 per cent and I nominated him for the Eclipse this weekend but I would rather wait," Conners said.

"There are bigger fish to fry later on and he will go for a break now."

The Doncaster Handicap at Randwick is in April and sending Chasm for an early spell gives Conners extra time to prepare him for the race.

"The horse has definitely got the ability to do it," Conners aid.

"He is is still only lightly raced and still only learning."

Chasm has won seven of his 11 starts and six of his eight runs since joining the Conners stable last autumn.

Conners has likened Chasm to the best horses he looked after for his father Clarry while he was his Melbourne stable foreman before becoming a trainer five years ago.

Chasm was among 16 nominations for the Eclipse (2100m) but the field could fall away dramatically with Banana Man, Railings, Sentire and Who’s Ya Daddy all engaged in Wednesday’s Ballarat Cup (2200m).

Sentire won last year’s Ballarat Cup and would be the first to win the race in successive years since Warri Symbol in 1982-83 and the first dual winner since Royal Caliph (1998 and 2000).

Banana Man won last week’s Bendigo Cup, Who’s Ya Daddy was a last start winner of the Kyneton Cup while Railings hasn’t won since the 2005 Caulfield Cup.

Bird Of Fire who won the Group Two Matriarch Stakes (2000m) on the last day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, is among the leading Eclipse contenders.

Others include Group One winners Valedictum, Mission Critical and Blutigeroo.

The Lloyd Williams-owned Instructor was a strong winner in restricted grade at Sandown on Saturday and his excellent record at the track could mean the five-year-old lines up in the Eclipse for his third start in consecutive weeks.

A winner of six of his 14 starts, Instructor is unbeaten in two runs on the Hillside course and would be trying to make it two wins from three starts on the Lakeside circuit on Saturday.

By Robert Windmill