Trainer Donna Logan has revealed that the 2015 Memsie Stakes is likely to be the first-up target for Cox Plate hopeful Volkstok’n’barrell.
Volkstok’n’barrell was sent to the spelling paddock after he finished a brave third behind Mongolian Khan and Hauraki in the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) at Royal Randwick on April 6, but he has now been back in work for almost two months and is set to trial against the likes of Turn Me Loose, Dal Cielo and Maygrove on Saturday morning.
Logan told Racing Ahead this morning that Volkstok’n’barrell is sure to take plenty of benefit out of the barrier trial and she will then decide whether the rising four-year-old heads to Melbourne for the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 29.
“He will trial before the first race and it is a very good line-up,” Logan said.
“It will probably be a field as good as they will have in the Makfi, so it will be good for him.
“He is definitely going to need it because he is doing very well in himself, like he has been on holiday for too long.
“It is a nice pipe-opener for us and it will tighten him up a bit before we decide either Memsie or Makfi (Challenge Stakes).
“We are leaning at this stage to the Memsie.”
Along with Mongolian Khan, Volkstok’n’barrell was the star three-year-old in New Zealand during the 2014/2015 racing season and he took out the Group 3 Bonecrusher Stakes (1400m), Group 2 Great Northern Guineas (1600m) and Listed Karaka Mile (1600m) in before he finished second in the Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m).
Volkstok’n’barrell made his Australian racing debut in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) on March 21 and he held-off a fast-finishing Preferment to record a maiden Group 1 victory before he finished a credible third in the Australian Derby.
Logan was thrilled with the form of Volkstok’n’barrell during his lengthy three-year-old preparation, but she believes that the son of Lord Tavistock has matured significantly during his stint in the spelling paddock and could be an even better horse during his Cox Plate campaign.
“He is a lot more bullish in himself and his attitude and you would almost think that he is a colt again,” Logan said.
“He is more of a grown-up and physically he feels a lot stronger.
“He seems a lot more aggressive in himself and his work, but I am not expecting him to come out and clean up in his first trial or anything stupid.
“The Cox Plate on the 24th of October is our goal, but I think that he will step-up on the way through and we should see some good performances out of him.”
Volkstok’n’barrell is currently available at 2015 Cox Plate odds of $26 with Ladbrokes, while Able Friend ($9) and Contributer ($9) remain locked in a battle for favouritism.