By Alastair Bull
Cambridge trainer Trent Busuttin is hopeful Sangster will be up to Melbourne Cup class after he demolished his opponents to win the Auckland Cup at Ellerslie.
The 2011 Victoria Derby winner was a $2 favourite for the $500,000 Group One race and justified the odds, sprinting clear at the top of the straight to beat outsider El Soldado by 2-1/4 lengths, with Chaparrone another 3-1/4 lengths back in third.
Busuttin, who trains with his partner Natalie Young, has some idea of what it takes to be competitive in a Melbourne Cup after seeing his father's horse Castletown run third under 58kg in 1992.
But he's hopeful rather than confident about Sangster's chances against what will be a quality international field.
"Melbourne's the dream, but obviously it's very hard to win," he said.
"Whether he's good enough to win is the question. He sort of had to really put them away, and no disrespect but the second horse got within a couple of lengths at the finish."
Busuttin said a race like the Singapore Gold Cup in May was also an option, as was the Group One weight-for-age BMW at Rosehill on April 6.
"The BMW is a big step up but it can turn out a very weak race," he said.
Busuttin executed a plan to get Sangster in the race with a light weight perfectly.
The horse got into the race with 54.5kg and then proceeded to win the Group One International Stakes and Group Two Avondale Cup after the weight was declared, making him look like a handicapping certainty on Wednesday.
"I don't usually get nervous, but I felt a bit of pressure today so it's good to pull it off," Busuttin said.
It was the third Group One race for the Savabeel gelding, but Busuttin said Sangster has a way to go before he can be talked about in the same breath as Castletown, who Busuttin led in after he won the Auckland Cup in 1992.
"Hopefully this bloke can keep going, he's had three Group Ones now, he's only a four-year-old. It'd be nice if he can win eight or nine Group Ones like Castletown."
Watch the video to see the final straight.