Trainer David Hayes is putting his judgement to the test and believes his imported stayer Americain has the right credentials to win first over 2000m.
Americain has only ever won over a shorter distance on one occasion and that was his first start in race over 1400m at Chantilly in 2007.
But Hayes is confident he has mixed his ingredients evenly for the seven year old to win first up in the Group 1 $1m Dubai Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Americain arrived at Hayes’ Euroa property in fine order and the top trainer had to give him enough work to raise his fitness levels to run a strong 2000m but also keep the old stayer on the fresh side to be competitive in the sprint home.
“He had a huge base on him when I got him,” Hayes said. “He had just run in a Melbourne Cup, Sandown Classic and Moonee Valley Cup in four weeks.
“You have to acknowledge that and build that into the training program that we have adapted here at Euroa with him.”
The Melbourne Cup winner has had a trouble free preparation since Hayes took over training the seven year old after his win in the Group 2 $350,000 Zipping Classic (2400m) at Sandown on November 12 last year.
“He hasn’t missed a day’s training since he’s been here,” Hayes said. “He hasn’t left an oat and that’s all you can really ask from a good horse.”
“He’s running at a foreign distance for him but the signs in his exhibition gallops tell me that he’ll sprint well fresh.”
“If he gets nice luck in running, he’ll be very competitive.”
Big race jockey Steven Arnold is having his first race ride on Americain, taking over from French jockey Gerald Mosse who has been his regular rider including all of his Australian starts.
German galloper Lucas Cranach has firmed in the betting to $2.90 and has taken over favouritism from American who is now $3.30 on the strength of his first up win in the Group 2 $200,000 Carlton Draught Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on February 25.
Trainer Anthony Freedman found the right formula and was able to prepare the imported stayer to score over 1800m while fresh as did Peter Moody with Manighar who won first up over 1600m in the Group 3 $125,000 Catanach’s Jewelers Carlyon Cup at Caulfield on February 11.
Manighar is on the third line of betting with Bart Cummings trained Illo at $8.50.