Archie Alexander has sights set on SA Derby

If High Approach can display the same toughness as his sire Highland Reel, then trainer Archie Alexander will have an above average stayer.

Highland Reel was an accomplished traveller for the Aidan O’Brien stable that would start off his season in Dubai, race through Europe and have his final start of the year in Hong Kong.

High Approach won’t have the same amount of travel as his sire each year, but Alexander is planning another trip for the three-year-old in coming weeks.

Alexander took High Approach from his Ballarat stable to Sydney for the Group 1 Australian Derby in which he finished fifth to Major Beel on April 1 and is planning a trip to Adelaide for the Group 1 South Australian Derby (2500m) at Morphettville next month.

The trainer said people do not realise just how tough Highland Reel was.

“When you look at his race record, he was nearly up there with a Frankel or a Nathaniel or something like that,” Alexander said.

“He was very good. He raced two, three, four and five at the highest level and if you look at his form he campaigned very aggressively.

“He went to Dubai in March and ended his year in Hong Kong in December and raced in every Group 1 in between.

“He was an iron horse and if this horse has anything like his toughness, he will be a good horse.”

Alexander is considering heading straight to the South Australian Derby with a jump-out to keep up the gelding’s fitness levels.

He said he discovered two things with High Approach’s effort in Sydney.

“He gets a mile-and-a-half, and he likes a heavy track,” Alexander said.

“And he is up to them at Group 1 level at three-year-old company. He proved a lot of people wrong, and I think with a closer ride and a bit more luck he probably runs second or third.

“I know the three-year-old form can be a bit suspect, but he could be a Caulfield Cup or Melbourne Cup horse if he gets over a bit of ground.

“The three-year-old category can be a weak one, so it will be early next season when we really see how it works out.”

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