Melbourne Cup hopeful Quest For More will lead the field out in the Group 3 $300,000 Geelong Cup (2400m) at Geelong on Wednesday after being allocated the topweight of 59kg.
English trainer Roger Charlton had intended to run Quest For More in last Saturday’s Group 1 $3m BMW (2400m) at Caulfield as his lead up to the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 3.
But the English stayer was relegated to first emergency when the final field for the Caulfield Cup was released and subsequently failed to gain a start with Charlton having to revert to Plan B.
“If he doesn’t get in he’ll run in the Geelong Cup on Wednesday,” Charlton said before the Caulfield Cup.
Tommy Berry has been booked to ride Quest For More in the Geelong Cup but the six year old has been hit with bad luck again after drawing barrier sixteen in the seventeen horse field plus one emergency.
Berry was down to ride Quest For More in the Caulfield Cup but when he didn’t get a run the top Sydney jockey picked up the ride on another English invader, Trip To Paris, who ran a slashing Melbourne Cup trial when second to Mongolian Khan.
But Berry has had a couple of feels of the English stayer at the quarantine centre at the Werribee International Horse Centre and is keen to get a ride under race conditions.
“Unfortunately he didn’t get to work with a partner but he worked with a set of blinkers on,” Berry said after working Quest For More last Tuesday.
“When I rode him last week I had to ride him the whole way round to get him to work three-quarter pace, but today he travelled and did it mostly by himself.
“Apparently that’s him without a partner.”
Quest For More was racing in fine form during the English Summer with a win in the £140,000 John Smith’s Northumberland Plate (2 miles 19 yards) at Newcastle on June 27 followed by a second to Big Orange in the Group 2 £300,000 OATAR Goodwood Cup (2 miles) at Goodwood on July 30.
Former English trained stayer Dandino, now under the care of Melbourne’s leading trained Darren Weir, will carry 57.5kg in the Geelong Cup and has barrier nine with Ben Melham to ride.
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Dandino ran second to Fawkner in the 2013 Caulfield Cup when prepared by Newmarket trainer Marco Botti and has been unplaced from four race starts for Weir, with his best run being a last start fourth to Preferment in the Group 1 $500,000 Yellowglen Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 4.
Gai Waterhouse will have Bonfire representing Tulloch Lodge and the European import has drawn near the inside at gate two with the in-form Mark Zahra to ride.
French galloper Guardini will be having his first run for Lee and Anthony Freedman and has drawn nicely at six with James Winks booked to take the reins.
Another former French trained stayer Orbec, now under the care of Randwick trainer John Thompson, has drawn the rails with Craig Williams the pilot.
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Ordec comes to Victoria following his last start fourth to Magic Hurricane in the Group 1 $750,000 McGrath Estate Agents Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick on October 3.
Grey six year old Manndawi, stablemate to Caulfield Cup runner up Trip To Paris, will be ridden by Kerrin McEvoy and will jump from gate three.
The Geelong Cup has gained quite a reputation of being a major lead up for the Melbourne Cup after 2012 winner Media Puzzle, 2010 winner Americain and 2011 winner Dunaden all went on to the win the Melbourne Cup at their next start.