The Group 1 $1.5m Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 12 is the early Autumn Carnival target for 2014 Victoria Derby winner Preferment.
Preferment has returned from a unsuccessful trip to Hong Kong that saw him run down the track when seventh to Irish super star Highland Reel in the Group 1 HK$16.5m Longines Hong Kong Vase (2400m) at Sha Tin on December 13.
Sydney’s all conquering trainer Chris Waller said that Preferment is currently in quarantine at the Werribee International Horse Centre as he prepares for the Autumn Carnival.
“He has been working at Werribee while he has been in quarantine,” Waller told AAP.
Even though Preferment won the Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby over 2500m at Flemington and went around in the 2015 Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup at Flemington over 3200m, Waller is keen to keep the millionaire galloper back to 2000m this campaign.
“Although he’s by Zabeel, he is out of a Flying Spur mare and may not be a real stayer,” Waller said.
“He might be better at the 2000 metres.”
Waller will step Preferment out in the Group 1 $600,000 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on February 27 as a lead up to the Australian Cup two weeks later.
“He will go to the Chipping Norton and then to the Australian Cup,” Waller said.
Preferment was an early star of the 2015 Spring Carnival with a win in the Group 2 $200,000 Ascend Sales Trophies Hill Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on September 19.
Waller then turned his attention back to Melbourne for his Victoria Derby winner and he saluted again with a narrow win over stablemate Royal Descent in the Group 1 $500,000 Yellowglen Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 4.
Preferment was then pitted up against the best weight for horses in the land in the Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) on October 24 but found the tight Moonee Valley track not to his liking and couldn’t match it with stablemate Winx and was a well beaten ninth.
Waller then took Preferment back to Flemington for the Melbourne Cup (3200m) on November 3 but he was always well back in the twenty-four horse field before finishing twentieth.
But that down the track run didn’t deter Waller and he was willing to give the Zabeel stallion his chance against some top quality international gallopers in Hong Kong Vase.
Preferment is a winner of three of his seventeen starts and has amassed over $1.5 million in prizemoney.