Beckham shooting for 1600m-goal

BRISBANE Aug 19 2016

Trainer Liam Birchley is bemused by suggestions the in-form Beckham will struggle at his first attempt at 1600 metres at Eagle Farm.

Beckham has been among the most consistent open company horses in Brisbane recently with three wins, two seconds and a fourth from his six starts this campaign.

His fourth over 1500m in a Listed Quality Handicap at Eagle Farm had some doubting his ability to run out the journey.

Beckham has since been second at 1350m and won twice at 1400m prompting Birchley to give him a chance in Saturday's Chemist Warehouse Open (1600m).

Birchley said Beckham was a remarkably relaxed horse for a six-year-old stallion.

"I wouldn't be too worried about the 1500 metre run. That was a far stronger race and he wasn't well in at the weights as there were a couple of very good Sydney stakes performers in the race," Birchley said.

"Also he was only beaten a bit over a length after leading and being a sitting shot for the rest of them."

Birchley said Beckham had an advantage in that he could lead in his races or settle off the pace.

"But the really big plus he has is he can handle the new Eagle Farm. It really is horses for courses at the moment," he said.

Among his opposition is Victorian Akavoroun with his trainer Ciaron Maher hoping apprentice Sairyn Fawke's 3kg claim can help him make a winning farewell to Brisbane.

Akavoroun is expected to return to Melbourne for the spring but his departure has been delayed on several occasions.

Maher would like the gelding to leave a winner after putting a lot of time into getting Akavoroun back into form.

Akavoroun struggled in the early winter before winning the Listed Tattersall's Mile but then failing over 1800m at Eagle Farm after looking the winner on the home turn.

"I am not sure if it was the track, the weight or the distance last time. But Sairyn's claim means he gets in with the same weight he carried to win the Tatt's Mile," Maher said.

Mark Oberhardt - AAP

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