2013 Melbourne Cup favourite Fiorente remains on track to contest the Group 1 event at Flemington next Tuesday and has taken no harm out of his tough run in Saturday’s Cox Plate (2040m), according to trainer Gai Waterhouse.
Fiorente had been ridden as a backmarker in his previous starts in Australia but, after the imported stayer drew an outside barrier in the Cox Plate, Waterhouse and jockey Blake Shinn made the decision to ride the five-year-old closer to the pace in the Group 1 Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship.
Shinn told News Limited that he was happy with his decision to go forward and believes that Fiorente would have won the race if he had drawn any other barrier and is the horse to beat in the 2013 Melbourne Cup.
“I could have gone back to last with that tempo, or roll forward and take the race by the scruff of the neck,” Shinn said after the race.
“I thought the best scenario was to go forward if I wanted to win.
“I thought at the 600m I was going better than the winner, but the weight told, and doing that bit of work to get there.
“He’s a great horse this horse and it was a great Melbourne Cup trial.”
Waterhouse admitted that she was worried the strong run may have flattened Fiorente heading into the Melbourne Cup early next week but told AAP that the imported stayer was recovering well from the race and would return to trackwork on Wednesday.
“He pulled up really well and went to the beach this morning,” Waterhouse said.
“He’s really happy horse.”
Shinn was replacing Damien Oliver on Fiorente, who missed the Cox Plate meeting due to suspension, and Waterhouse said that Oliver was happy with the ride Shinn gave to his Melbourne Cup mount.
“I asked Damien if he thought it had been too much of a gut-buster and he told me the run was exactly what he wished the horse would have,” Waterhouse said.
Fiorente is now a clear favourite in 2013 Melbourne Cup betting markets at odds of $5.50 and there has also been plenty of support for Waterhouse’s other runner Tres Blue who has impressed at the International Equine Centre at Werribee since arriving in Australia.
Fiorente is aiming to become the first horse since Empire Rose in 1988 to win the Melbourne Cup after finishing second the year before.