Exciting galloper Full Steam Ahead is on track to continue his winning spree at Ascot today after Perth's record-breaking heatwave threatened to force him out of the tabtouch.mobi Handicap (1500m).
Trainer Noel Pateman considered scratching Full Steam Ahead to avoid the five-hour road trip from Geraldton to Perth in the searing heat when 39C was forecast.
But the hulking five-year-old was given the all-clear to start when the forecast dropped to 33C.
Former jockey Andrew Masters will float Full Steam Ahead to Perth earlier to avoid travelling during the middle of the day.
Masters is the stable foreman for Pateman and husband of Pateman's daughter, Nicole, who owns Full Steam Ahead.
"We were thinking the other day of not coming down when it was supposed to be 39," Masters said.
"We usually bring him down so he gets there just before his race but we'll leave here about 4am and get him there earlier."
With six wins from nine starts, Full Steam Ahead is being talked up as a prospect for the $1 million Carlton Draught Railway Stakes (1600m) in November.
The son of Trade Fair returned from a spell with a strong win over 1200m at Ascot on December 8 despite racing three wide.
"He took a bit longer to pull up from his last start but it was only an extra few days and he's all good now," Masters said.
"It was surprising for him to win so well first-up over 1200 in that sort of field.
"That (Railway Stakes) is the plan. He's doing everything right so far and trainers such as Jim Taylor have told us he'd be the perfect horse for it."
Player has Full Steam Ahead a hot $2.20 favourite for today's 1500m event.
Top jockey Paul Harvey, who also rates the gelding highly, retains the ride and Full Steam Ahead rises 2kg on his last-start victory to 57kg.
Masters said a wide draw in barrier nine is of little concern.
"He's a big-striding horse and needs room. We don't want him bottled up on the fence," Masters said.
"He'll go to the Australia Day Cup after this and if Paul thinks he should keep going, we'll start him in the Detonator Stakes."The Australia Day Cup (1500m) is followed by the Detonator Stakes (1800m) on February 16.
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