OTI Racing-owned Pakal is set to contest the Listed Cranbourne Cup (2025m) on October 13 rather than the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 5.
Pakal started his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a dominant victory in the Legacy 2013 Badge Appeal Handicap (1600m) and finished third in the Listed Slickpix Stakes (1700m) before finishing fourth behind Mr O’Ceirin in the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield last Saturday.
Trainer Mick Price was expected to step the Lord Of England gelding up to Group 1 level in Australia for the first time in the Turnbull Stakes but managing co-owner Terry Henderson from OTI told TVN this morning that the four-year-old may head to Cranbourne for an easier race.
“Nothing is certain yet but we’re very mindful of not ‘gassing’ this horse in his first season for us and the Turnbull is going to be such a hard race,” Henderson said.
“Mick and I both think it might be a bit too tough on him, so we’re looking at the Cranbourne Cup as a more winnable option.”
The Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) was the major 2013 Spring Racing Carnival goal for Pakal but he now looks unlikely to qualify for a run in the race after failing to win the ballot-exempt Naturalism Stakes.
The four-year-old is currently 59th in the 2013 Caulfield Cup order of entry but Henderson still believes that the German import is a chance to get into the final field if he wins the Cranbourne Cup.
“If he happened to win the Cranbourne Cup and got a weight penalty that put him into the Caulfield Cup, we would have to sit down and assess the situation,” Henderson said.
“I think we could have a really good horse for two or three seasons if we look after him, so we have to make sure we manage him right.”
Even if Pakal doesn’t make it to the Caulfield Cup OTI Racing is set to be well represented in the race; with triple Group 1 winner Manighar, last year’s fifth placegetter My Quest For Peace, in-form stayer Ibicenco and Group 3 placegetter Lidari all a chance to contest the event.