Phillip Stokes has spent the build-up for the racing return of Sansom on getting the gelding to relax. That work will be on display when the rising five-year-old contests the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
In Sansom’s 20 starts to date which have netted eight wins, Stokes is yet to race the gelding beyond 1400m, but the trainer hopes this preparation he may be able to extend him out to 1600m.
“We’ve put a lot of time into him getting him to relax,” Stokes said.
“I’ve always maintained that he looks like a horse that if he could relax a bit more, he could get out to a mile, which would open up a lot more opportunities.
“From that barrier  I think we’ll ride him a bit more conservatively, midfield, with cover, getting him to relax and let him work home.
“He’s done a lot of work here at our farm. We’ve got a hill training track and I think that’s helped him, and Ben Allen knows him really well and he commented that in his gallops he’s switching off now and is a more relaxed customer.
“Hopefully he can build on that and I think there’s a good win in him somewhere over the spring.”
Sansom scores a narrow success at Flemington, picture Racing Photos
Sansom has not raced since running sixth in the Group 3 Shaftesbury Avenue Handicap (1400m) at Flemington in February, which followed a trip to the Gold Coast to contest the Magic Millions Sprint in January, finishing seventh to Jonkers.
Stokes said he gave Sansom a good break in the lead-up to the spring, but the gelding has had only the one jump-out, leaving him open to a lot of improvement.
Sansom now has to take that step up in grade having been successful in Listed grade.
“He’s in that middle range now and he’s got to make that step,” Stokes said.
“Not many of them do, but looking at him, physically I think he’s made improvement and hopefully he can take that next step.”