Impressive winner of the 2012 edition of the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) in what was just his fourth competitive appearance on track, trainer Pat Carey has revealed his is pleased with the building form of classy stayer Ethiopia following a strong barrier trial at Cranbourne on Monday morning.
Jumping from the gates well, Ethiopia settled in good position throughout the running of the 1550m trial, extending well in the final straight to hit the line just off the pace of the first horse past the post.
Delighted with the hit-out Carey told Racing Victoria he is yet to settle on a major target for the Helenus gelding through the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival, but is very confident on improving on a first-up run for eighth in the Coolgardie Cup (1760m) first-up on August 30th.
“He satisfied me with what he has done. I was very happy with the way he went through the line and stayed on well. The horse has only had the one run under his belt. He’ll need that trial to bring him on a little bit,” Carey said.
“There is a plan to run in some races. But we just want to assess today’s trial before we run him.
“The horse looks great. He’s forward in the coat now. Probably the most forward he has ever been for this time of year. We are happy with him.
“He is nice and free in his action. He has had some soundness issues through his autumn preparation, where he only had two runs and we had to pull the pin on him in the autumn. I liked the way he looked today.”
Claiming just one win and three minor places from his seventeen competitive starts so far, Ethiopia has produced notable results over four racing campaigns but has not been able to return to the peaks of his maiden season, which included third place in the Group 2 Autumn Classic (1800m) and second in the Group 2 Alister Clark Stakes (2040m) further to his Australian Derby triumph.
Finishing a credible seventh in last year’s edition of the Race That Stops a Nation, Ethiopia is currently available at a particularly generous quote of $201 to win the 2014 Melbourne Cup with Ladbrokes Australia.