Promising colt Cauthen is a chance of returning to Australia for the 2014 Cox Plate, if he performs well when he starts his spring campaign in the Group 1 Mafki Challenge Stakes (1400m) at Hawke’s Bay on August 30.
Cauthen received plenty of hype when he won by eight and a half lengths on debut in New Zealand before defeating Shamus Award and Long John to win the Listed McKenzie Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley, but he had his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival prematurely ended when he pulled up with the thumps following a disappointing performance in the Listed Henry Bucks Best Dressed Stakes (1400m).
The Darci Brahma colt has had just one race start since his Henry Bucks Best Dressed Stakes flop, finishing second in the Mitsubishi Electric Handicap (1200m) at Trentham on January 25, but trainer Andrew Campbell told Racing Victoria that he is confident that the rising four-year-old can return to the form that he showed at the start of his racing career and earn a tilt at the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 25.
“His first run over here will be in the Group 1, 1400m race (Mafki Challenge Stakes) and if he performed well or won he would be over in Australia in a flash,” Campbell said.
“That’s our yardstick so we’ll see how he goes in that and obviously he’ll have some jump outs and trials beforehand so we’ll have a fair idea how he is going before that race anyway.”
“I don’t think he’s lost any of his ability.
“At his first start he beat a very good field, that form really stacks up and he won that by nine lengths.
“He should have won his first start in Melbourne at Moonee Valley, he nearly got put over the fence, and then he won his next start well and beat the two good three-year-olds that went on to win a Cox Plate and a Caulfield Guineas, so I can’t see any reason why his form won’t stack up.”
Cauthen was found to have suffered a stress fracture in his off-front leg after finishing second in the Mitsubishi Electric Handicap and was sent straight back to the spelling paddock to recover from the injury.
Campbell said that x-rays had cleared Cauthen of the stress fracture and the rising trainer revealed that the colt had taken plenty of physical improvement from his latest stint in the paddock.
“He looks enormous now and we’re just wrapped with him,” Campbell said.
“He hasn’t got too big either, being a colt and a great doer we didn’t want him to get too big, but he looks fantastic and we’re thrilled.”
Cauthen is currently available at 2014 Cox Plate odds of $41 in the betting markets with Ladbrokes Australia.