Classy Kiwi colt Cauthen did not live up to the hype during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival but trainer Andrew Campbell believes that the three-year-old has taken a great deal of benefit out of his premature stint in the spelling paddock.
Cauthen won his debut race at Te Rapa in New Zealand by an incredible eight and a half lengths and was extremely well-backed in the lead-up to his Australian racing debut in the Sweeney Can Do Agents Handicap (1000m) at Moonee Valley on August 3.
The Darci Brahma colt finished a luckless second behind Clevadude but turned the tables to record an impressive win in the Listed McKenzie Stakes (1200m) – a field that included subsequent Caulfield Guineas winner Long John and Cox Plate winner Shamus Award.
Cauthen was moved to the top of Caulfield Guineas betting markets after the strong win but failed to fire when he finished a distance 12th behind Long John at his next start in the Listed Henry Bucks Best Dressed Stakes (1400m) and Campbell made the tough decision to prematurely end the colt’s spring campaign.
Campbell told Racing Victoria yesterday that Cauthen had returned from his time in the spelling paddock in outstanding condition and believes his decision not to push on to the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) was the right decision for the future of the three-year-old.
“The break did him the world of good and it might be a blessing in disguise for his career,” Campbell said.
“He’s back in work and he looks a million dollars, I’m very happy with him and he’s having a gallop next week.”
The leading New Zealand trainer has not decided on the ultimate 2014 Autumn Racing Carnival goal for Cauthen, with the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) one race on the agenda, but confirmed that he would make his return to racing in New Zealand in January.
“We’ll just see how he comes up before we make a decision,” Campbell said.
“We’re just hoping that he comes back as good as we think that he is.
“I’m sure he will get a mile (1600m) but at this stage he can definitely sprint as well.”
The 2014 Australian Guineas could be one of the strongest in the recent history on the race; with Cox Plate winner Shamus Award and Trent Busuttin-trained El Roca among the three-year-olds being set for the $500,000 event.