French import Gris Caro has earned himself a spot in the Caulfield Cup after taking out the Group 3 $150,000 Jack London Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield today.
The winner of the Naturalism Stakes gains an automatic entry into the Group 1 $2.5m Crown Golden Ale Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 18 and Gris Caro proved that he is up to the task with tough grinding win.
Winning rider Ben Melham had Gris Caro ($16) racing up on the pace and the six year old grey dug deep over the final fifty metres to hold off the challenges of Entirely Platinum ($7.50) and Bonfire ($5) who set the pace with the winner.
South Australian trainer Jake Stephens was very excited to qualify Gris Caro for the Caulfield Cup and will return home to Victor Harbor to plot his final lead up run for the Spring Carnival 2400m feature.
“I only rated him about ninety-five per cent for this one. We will have to have a look, only one race at a time. We will decide,” Stephens said.
“Last start we knew he would come on a lot. The trip over and he’s been a handful put the back,” Stephens said.
“We sort of knew that he was going to run well with that draw and everything else.”
“A great ride and the horse was travelling on the bend. I think he has actually got more improvement in him.”
Lindsay Park trainers David Hayes and Tom Dabernig ran out of luck after winning three races earlier in the day when race favourite Spillway was held up badly for a run in the straight with Damien Oliver looking everywhere for run that failed to appear.
The Team Hawkes trained Entirely Platinum ran a much improved race for third back on top of the ground after failing to beat a runner home when eighth to Hawkspur in the Group 2 $175,000 Tattersalls Club Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) on a heavy Randwick track two weeks ago.