Big Energy stepping up to target McKenna

Melbourne Cup runner-up Big Energy will step up to 595 metres in heats of the McKenna Memorial at Sandown Park next Thursday, after a series of unplaced runs over 515m.

Big Energy running the sixth-fastest time ever (28.93sec) at Sandown Park
Big Energy running the sixth-fastest time ever (28.93sec) at Sandown Park Picture: Jason McKeown

Beaten as favourite in last year's Phoenix, Big Energy's last win came six starts ago. It's led the Greenough team to thinking it's the right time to step him up in distance.

"He's taken a few hard hits with the dogs drawn around him lately," co-trainer Brad Greenough said.

"In his last race he ran home well after being flattened so we thought we would try the 595 with the McKenna coming up."

Although finishing fourth in that run, he still recorded a very solid 10.50 run home time and set the second fastest last 100m on the card – just 0.01 off Fred Rose.

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Rising in distance is always a test, however a mid-week trial at Sandown Park has suggested 'Benny' will have no issue with the task.

"He had a 595m trial on Wednesday at Sandown, he broke 34 seconds with a nice run home. It's up to him now."

Since April last year Big Energy holds the top three fastest times set at Sandown Park – 28.91, 28.93 and 28.98. Only track record holder Aston Rupee has more sub-29 runs to his name.

A top four finish in a heat of the McKenna will see Big Energy surpass $500,000 in prizemoney.

The Group 2 McKenna Memorial final will be run on Thursday July 4.

Consistency has been a sticking point for In The Hub but there is absolutely no sign of it at the moment. He was breathtaking again at Sandown Park last night with a fast 29.15 (5.01, 18.55) win – he's won five of his past six and now holds four of the top seven fastest times at the track this year.

He set the fastest times of the night between 50-100m, 100-200m, 200-300m and equal fastest 300-400m with Bagman.

In the race following, Stomping was superb in a fast 34.05 over 595m defeating Rock Me Rocco and Yachi Bale – all expected to be lining up in next Thursday's heats of the McKenna.