Trainer Nicky Henderson is hopeful that Forgotten Voice can earn a spot in the 2013 Melbourne Cup field by winning the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m) in dominant fashion this afternoon.
Forgotten Voice narrowly missed out on gaining a start in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on Saturday and will need to win the Geelong Cup and earn a weight penalty from Racing Victoria Chief Handicapper Greg Carpenter to be any chance of qualifying for the Melbourne Cup field.
There was speculation that Forgotten Voice would be scratched from the Geelong Cup because of the heavy state of the track but Henderson confirmed that the veteran stayer would take his place in the field and is confident that the Danehill Dancer gelding will perform strongly based on his performances during trackwork at the International Equine Centre at Werribee.
“The Caulfield Cup was the primary objective over a mile and a half, but Johnny Murtagh seriously thought the Melbourne Cup would suit him,” Henderson told RSN.
“We didn’t get into the Caulfield Cup and we’re less likely to get in the Melbourne Cup unless he does something spectacular in the Geelong Cup.
“He worked 10 days ago in quarantine with Dandino and it was great as we managed to see the video within a couple of hours.
“They worked very well together and Dandino evidently ran a great race in the Caulfield Cup, so we’ve got our chance to see if we are up to this standard and we are very much looking forward to seeing it.”
Ryan O’Reilly has done the majority of the work with Forgotten Voice since he arrived in Australia and he told News Limited that the rain-affected track would not be a problem for the eight-year-old whose best form has been on firm tracks in the United Kingdom.
“We’re not worried about the ground; I think soft ground in Australia is not the same as soft ground at home,” O’Reilly said.
“He’s a bit of a horse that likes to be keen and likes to go on that bit more, but we like to keep him steady and keep him nice and fresh.
“He runs best when he’s a bit fresh in himself and he’s just like that at the moment — fresh and well.”
Henderson said he is yet to make any plans for Forgotten Voice beyond the Melbourne Cup but he revealed that the former hurdler will likely remain in Australia during the British Jumps Racing Season.
“Having got him to Australia he may as well stay there; there’s no point him coming back to England,” Henderson said.
“The ground is soft and Flat racing will be over so there’s not a lot of point him coming back here for the time being and I expect he will continue his travels in the southern hemisphere.
“I haven’t looked any further ahead than this week really because that will completely dictate where we go next.
“If it did get him into the Melbourne Cup it would be wonderful and it would mean I would get a little visit to Australia, which I’d love to do.”
Forgotten Voice will need to receive a penalty of at least two kilograms to be assured of gaining a start in the Melbourne Cup and have any chance of joining European-trained stayers Media Puzzle (2002), Americain (2010) and Dunaden (2011) as horses who have completed the Geelong Cup/Melbourne Cup double.