The wet New Zealand weather has prompted connections to head to Melbourne early with Cox Plate candidate Cauthen who will join the Spring Carnival team of Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young.
Opaki trainer Andrew Campbell had planned to step up Cauthen’s Spring Carnival preparation with a barrier trial at Waverley on Tuesday but because of the wet weather the four year old will be on the plane to Melbourne on Wednesday to join his new stablemate El Roca.
“He’ll fly out on Wednesday and be transferred into Trent’s name,”Campbell told the NZ Racing Desk.
“They will be looking to kick him off on the 30th in Melbourne in an 1100 metre race. It will work out great and it makes sense with the wet tracks here.
“Trent trains for Tommy (Heptinstall, a part-owner) as well and the horse looks fantastic and he’s as sound as a bell.”
“With the weather here not great we would be getting behind the eight ball with him.”
The lightly raced Cauthen gave racegoers a sneak preview of his ability during the 2013 Melbourne Spring Carnival when he beat subsequent Cox Plate winner Shamus Award and Caulfield Guineas winner Long John in the Listed $120,000 Essendon Nissan McKenzie Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on August 24.
The Darci Brahma entire then pulled up with the thumps when twelfth to Long John in the Listed $120,000 Henry Bucks Best Dressed Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on September 7 and was sent for a spell.
He then resumed in January but suffered a stress fracture when second to Silver Eclipse over 1200m at Trentham and had to return to the spelling paddock.
Busuttin will waste no time in getting Cauthen up and running and will have him straight to the track on Thursday to prepare for a possible attack on the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 25.
“He will be at the track on Thursday with a saddle on his back and we’ll go from there,” Busuttin told AAP.
Cauthen will then start his Spring build up in restricted company before Busuttin steps him out in Group 1 company in the Group 1 $400,000 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on September 28 and the Group 1 $400,000 David Jones NBCF Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on October 11.
“We’ll find a Rating 90 race or something like that to kick him off in and if he can do well there, a race like the Rupert Clarke Stakes or the Toorak Handicap would probably be ideal targets for him,” Busuttin said.
“If he happened to win those races there’s the Cox Plate there, but obviously that’s the cream of the crop. So we’ll see.”
Cauthen’s new stable mate El Roca is set to kick off his Spring campaign in the Listed $120,000 Regal Roller Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on Saturday as Cambridge co-trainers Busuttin and Young strive for a Group 1 win in the coming months.
El Roca was denied a Group 1 trophy when nosed out by the Peter Moody trained Dissident in the Group 1 $600,000 Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) at Randwick during this year’s Sydney Autumn Carnival.
And was in the placings again at his next start at weight for age when third to Gordon Lord Byron in the Group 1 $1m George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill two weeks later.
“He’ll strip fit enough to be competitive on Saturday but has got plenty of upside in him,” Busuttin said.
“Obviously he’s got a big campaign ahead of him.
“He won’t be screwed down 100 per cent on Saturday, but we’re very happy with him.”
The Fastnet Rock stallion will then head towards the Group 1 $400,000 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 30 with the Rupert Clarke Stakes also on the radar.
“If he runs well on Saturday we’ll head to the Memsie and then there are several options,” Busuttin said.
In early Cox Plate betting with Ladbrokes.com.au multiple Group 1 winning Kiwi mare Silent Achiever is the favourite at $11 while Cauthen is at the healthy odds of $34.