Trainer Pat Carey has revealed that Ethiopia is a chance to contest both the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) and Group 1 The BMW (2400m), despite starting his campaign in the Group 3 Standish Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on New Year’s Day.
Ethiopia did not spend much time in the spelling paddock after finishing an impressive seventh in the Melbourne Cup and was never a chance in the Standish Handicap; finishing a distant tenth behind Flamberge.
The Listed Mornington Cup (2400m) on February 12 was expected to be the major target for Ethiopia but Carey told Racing Victoria that the Helenus gelding will run right through the summer and into the 2014 Melbourne Festival Of Racing as well as the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
“We’d like to think he’d go to the Australian Cup he may run in the Mornington Cup and then hopefully on to Sydney,” Carey said.
“He missed last autumn after going pretty well through the spring and he took a little while to find his form this spring but his last two runs were excellent.
“His run in the Melbourne Cup was outstanding after suffering interference and covering ground from the 1400.”
Ethiopia came from nowhere to win the Group 1 2012 Australian Derby (2400m) at just his fourth start but has been unable to return to winners stall since; doing the majority of his racing at Group 1 level.
The tough stayer finished an impressive fourth behind Ocean Park, All Too Hard and Pierro in the 2012 Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) and was well backed heading into the Melbourne Cup but failed to beat home a single runner and was found to be lame after the race.
Ethiopia had just one run during the autumn of 2013, finishing towards the tail of the field in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m), and returned to the races in the spring with a credible fifth place finish in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m).
He failed to fire in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) or Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) but returned to a semblance of his best form with a fourth place finish in the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) before his strong performance in the Melbourne Cup.
Carey is chasing his second victory in The BMW, after taking out the 2011 edition of the race with the ill-fated Cedarberg, while his best result in the Australian Cup was the second place finish of Candy Vale behind Roman Arch in 2006.