Ciaron Maher and David Eustace will follow a tried and tested route into the Melbourne Cup with their stayer Grand Promenade, hoping he can follow in the footsteps of the Lloyd Williams-owned Almandin.
The latter took out The Bart Cummings, the 2500 metre “win, and you’re in” qualifier for the Melbourne Cup, in 2016. He was then put away to stay fresh for a month before returning to Flemington without another prep run to win the greatest race of all under Kerrin McEvoy.
Grand Promenade emulated stablemate Persan in 2020 when he too took out The Bart Cummings on Saturday and, like Persan last year, will be given a short break before returning to action on the first Tuesday in November.
Grand Promenade won The Bart Cummings at Flemington on Saturday. Credit:Getty Images
Persan showed that the month-long gap between runs does not affect a fit horse; with his low weight he was able to finish fifth behind Twilight Payment, making him the first of the Australian-trained horses home.
“He doesn’t need racing. He backed up two weeks there [on Saturday, having run at Caulfield on September 18] and he’s been racing basically all year,” Maher said of Grand Promenade.
While he will miss the Caulfield Cup, Victoria’s Premier training duo do plan to have several irons in the Caulfield fire if they get the chance.
Explosive Jack, the triple Derby winner from last season, ran a pleasing lead up when fifth in the Turnbull behind hot Cups favourite Incentivise on Saturday, beaten less than four lengths over what was still an inadequate distance of 2000 metres.
“We have been very pleased with him, his two runs have been very competitive and [in] conditions that aren’t his ideal distance. He got that little bit of sting out of the ground on Saturday, which suited him, and he has pulled up well and is right on track for the Caulfield Cup,” said Eustace.
“Explosive Jack had a long campaign last time round. He was always going to carry a fair bit of residual fitness over from that. He is not a horse who needs runs over short trips to be competitive.”
He will definitely get a start at Caulfield with John Allen set to continue their lucrative partnership from last year. The stable also hopes that Persan (who ran seventh in the Turnbull on Saturday) will be able to take advantage of withdrawals and defections to get high enough up into the entry to sneak a Caulfield Cup run.
Maher said that English import Floating Artist, who has won his last three starts at distances between 1600 metres and 1800 metres, would also try to force his way into the Caulfield field by winning either the Herbert Power Handicap or the Coongy Handicap, both races which guarantee the winner a start in Caulfield’s signature race.
Tooradin, another progressive stayer from the stable (he has won four of his last seven starts) will also be aimed at either of those two races to see if he too can grab a late place in the Cup field.
Eustace added: “Floating Artist has shown a fair bit of class at the mile and 1800. He’s a gelding in a rich vein of form, and we still think he is coming to himself and still improving. We will give him the opportunity to qualify for a nice race like that.”
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