TITLE AIM: Australia's Mack Horton has his focus on the men's 1500m freestyle world title.
TITLE AIM: Australia's Mack Horton has his focus on the men's 1500m freestyle world title. Michael Sohn

Mack Horton's long distance dream

AUSTRALIA's Olympic 400m freestyle champion Mack Horton wants to join the prestigious list of Aussie world 1500m title holders.

Australia has won six 1500m world titles since the event started in 1973.

The winners were Steve Holland (1973), Kieren Perkins (1994) and Grant Hackett (1998, 2001, 2003, 2005).

Horton's coach Craig Jackson says the swimmer was still disappointed at his performance in the Olympic 1500m final at Rio, where he finished fifth behind gold medallist Greg Paltrinieri.

Horton was 15 seconds behind the Italian and 10 seconds off his personal best.

"That was one of his disappointments of Rio, that he wasn't able to achieve that goal," Jackson said.

"It has given him quite a bit of motivation to step forward in the new four-year cycle (towards Tokyo 2020).

"That is probably his next target, to achieve something like that.

"In his books it would be a major achievement."

Horton starts that quest in the heats of the 1500m at world titles in Budapest on Saturday night with the final early on Monday (AEST).

Horton, who skipped the 800m to concentrate on the longer distance, feels Paltrinieri is vulnerable after the defending champion couldn't defend his 800m title in Budapest.

He finished with bronze after Italian teammate Gabriele Detti took gold with Poland's Wojciech Wojdak second.

"The result of the 800m gives an indication of where everyone is at (for the 1500m)," Jackson said.

"It was interesting with the placings.

"I thought Greg would have been a little bit better in that but in his own words he is a lot more comfortable in the 1500m than the 800m.

"I don't think it was an unexpected result.

"I think that Polish guy in the middle was the surprise. He is obviously on the radar now."