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Track condition to determine first-up run

Group One-bound three-year-old Inside Agent has been entered in two states for his return with trainer Nigel Blackiston covering his bases amid concerns over a possible firm track at Caulfield.

Blackiston’s preferred option is to keep Inside Agent in Melbourne for the Group Three Manfred Stakes (1200m) but has also entered him for a stakes race race at Randwick on Saturday.

And if he believes the track to be too firm in Melbourne he will have no hesitation swinging the colt north to Sydney for the Group Three Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m).

“Caulfield at this stage is where he’ll go but if I’ve got any concerns about how firm the track is then I might have to go to Sydney which might have more juice in the track,” Blackiston said.

“He’s first-up and I don’t want to risk him on rock hard ground.”

Inside Agent made his debut at Caulfield last spring before graduating to a Listed 1400m victory at Flemington at his second start.

He then finished midfield at Caulfield, again in Listed company, before a narrow second to Godolphin’s Souchez at Flemington on the final day of the Melbourne Cup carnival.

Blackiston said Inside Agent was not fully wound up for his return run.

“He’s progressed very nicely and has come off some very nice trials at Flemington,” he said.

“He’s a nice style of horse and hopefully he’ll perform well.”

Inside Agent holds nominations for both the Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 4 and the Newmarket Handicap (1200m) the following week.

“At this stage we’re heading on the Guineas path but if I don’t think he will see out a strong mile we can change our mind,” Blackiston said.

“We could freshen him up for a tilt at the Newmarket and then look to Sydney afterwards.”

Last year’s Melbourne Cup winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy has been booked to ride Inside Agent at Caulfield.

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