Cradle Mountain climbs one step at a time

Jason Collett rides Cradle Mountain for his partner, trainer Clare Cunningham, at Scone.

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Trainer Clare Cunningham is no rush to push a bargain basement buy to the top echelon, as Cradle Mountain continues to make his way steadily through the grades.

A four-race unbeaten streak can warrant a step up to a stakes race but after one metropolitan win on Anzac Day, Cunningham is not setting the bar too high.

His jockey, Cunningham's partner Jason Colleett, said the gelding would continue to make small steps.

"He's working his way towards black-type but we don't want to jump too far ahead of ourselves just yet," Collett said.

"It's very tempting but he is a gelding so there's not the pressure there'd be if it was a filly or a mare."

A $4000 buy at the Scone sales in 2015, Cradle Mountain returns to the breeding epicentre for Saturday's Vinery Handicap (1100m) in which he is the early favourite.

After three wins at Goulburn, Canberra and Kembla Grange in his last preparation, Cradle Mountain won his Sydney debut at Randwick and now he takes on Saturday metropolitan grade on day two of the Scone Carnival.

"It's small steps, but he keeps performing each time. He did it easy on Anzac Day," Collett said.

Quoted at $1.60 with the TAB on Friday, Cradle Mountain has recorded all four wins over 1200m but Collett has no concerns about the slight drop back in distance.

"He's got good barrier speed, but he doesn't have to lead, so I've got options," he said.

Godolphin gelding Malahat was the only other runner in single figures at $5.

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