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Weekend Hussler tries 1m1f for first time

TRAINER Ross McDonald reckons Weekend Hussler's rivals will have to find six lengths to trouble the Aussie superstar as he steps up in trip to 1m1f in Saturday's Underwood Stakes.

Having recorded an impressive victory two weeks ago in the Group 2 MakybeDiva Stakes, the four-year-old is looking for the seventh Group 1 success of his brilliant career.

After Saturday's race, the highlight of a fine card at Caulfield, Weekend Hussler will be aimed at the Group1 Yalumba Stakes in a fortnight's time before the jewels of the Melbourne spring carnival: the Cox Plate, Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup.

McDonald suggests the gelded son of Hussonet has improved since his last win, where he scored easily by two and a half lengths over rivals like Zarita, Littorio and Light Fantastic, all of whom are reposing in the Underwood, where Weekend Hussler will be ridden by regular partner Brad Rawiller.

“They'll have to improve six lengths to beat him,” McDonald told AAP Racing. “He only hit him twice and he's in super order.”

The trainer appears unflustered by the step-up in trip as the Aussie horse of the year steps beyond 1m for the first time. “The way he relaxes, the way he works, we've got no worries about him over 1,800 metres.”

Despite the Underwood'sfeaturing a high-class field of 13, Weekend Hussler will be an odds-on chance for a race that takes place in the early hours of Saturday morning UK time.

While Weekend Hussler's connections are pleased with stall three, his old rival Light Fantastic –who beat him first time up this term - is on the inner in one.

“It's definitely better than 13,” suggested jockey CraigNewitt. “But he's a big striding horse who needs a bit of room so it's not perfect.”

Other well-known names taking on Weekend Hussler in a glittering line-up include last year's Yalumba Stakes winner Maldivian,the 2007 Victoria Derby one-two Kibbutz and Littorio, Australian Cup winner Pompeii Ruler and Zarita, who won both the South Australian Oaks and Derby in Adelaide in the autumn.

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