Trainer Pat Carey is not concerned that Ethiopia will go into the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) next Saturday with just two runs under his belt this preparation.
Ethiopia started his campaign with a promising fifth in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) before finishing at the tail of the field in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) when the race was not run to suit.
Carey told Sky Racing HQ that the Helenus gelding will go into the Caulfield Cup fresh and said that he was glad he opted against running the five-year-old in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington last weekend.
“We have never overburdened him with racing,” Carey said.
“He is a horse who we can reasonably get ready on the track.
“We took an attitude that, despite the fact that he was nominated to run in the Turnbull Stakes the other day, we didn’t need to run him and we would go straight towards the Caulfield Cup.
“We had the view that it could be a messy race, the Turnbull is getting that way a bit, so he galloped at Caulfield on Tuesday morning and worked a really strong mile with stablemate Durnford.”
Carey said that he is very happy with the condition of Ethiopia, after he worked at Caulfield on Tuesday morning, and added that the tough gelding had relished a light preparation in the past – most notably when he won the 2012 Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) without having a run in the month before the race.
“I was really happy with the work,” Carey said.
“I think that he is as fit as he has to be at this point and whilst we are going in without another run we are certainly doing the work that we want to do.
“It isn’t foreign to him to go into the race without a preparatory run.
“He went into the AJC Derby and he hadn’t run for a month.
“It doesn’t worry us really; we have a pretty good gauge of where the horse is at.”
Ethiopia will be competing in the Caulfield Cup for the first time; with Carey electing to start his star galloper in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) last year in the lead-up to the Melbourne Cup.