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Moonee Valley Race 8
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Sydney Cup entry Maximus Gladiator needs to win emphatically at Warwick Farm on Wednesday to have any chance of making it to the Group One staying test.

“If he happened to come out and win by ten lengths then it’s something the owners might want to sit down and think about,” trainer David Vandyke said.

“But three starts ago we were pretty excited about him winning a class one race at Kembla (Grange).

“Going so soon to a Group One is a pretty big step.”

Vandyke said weights for the $500,000 Sydney Cup (3200m) on Saturday week were also conspiring against Maximus Gladiator who has the limit, 52kg.

“The problem with the Sydney Cup is that he is getting the same weight as Permit and that makes it hard.”

Permit earned outright Sydney Cup favouritism with his Chairman’s Quality win last Saturday.

It’s Permit’s ability to accelerate quickly at the end of his races that has Vandyke looking for easier targets.

“There’s the Provincial Stayers Championship Final at Hawkesbury in a few weeks which looks a good race,” he said.

Maximus Gladiator will be trying to extend to four his unbeaten run under the Warwick Farm trainer when he contests the Rotary Club of Liverpool Greenway Handicap (2400m).

The four-year-old is bred to stay as a son of 1998 Victoria Derby winner Arena.

Arena is also a noted sire of mudlarks and any track downgrade would boost Maximus Gladiator’s prospects.

“He’s won in heavy and any rating from one to ten will do for him,” Vandyke said.

“The biggest problem for him will be giving weight to some of the horses he has raced but he’s a very progressive horse who is still learning to race.”

First markets have Maximus Gladiator ($3.20) pressing the Gai Waterhouse-trained Reuben Percival ($2.70) for favouritism.

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