The Melbourne Cup distance of 3200 metres is an issue for a number of horses in the Group 1 event, but jockey Hugh Bowman is confident that Preferment will have no problems running the trip out strongly at Flemington tomorrow afternoon.
Preferment has never previously raced over 3200 metres, but he produced a strong staying performance to take out the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington last year and Bowman told Racing Ahead this morning that the Zabeel entire has always given him the impression that he would be at his best over 2400 metres and two miles.
“Obviously it is a query because he hasn’t been asked to do it,” Waller said.
“His maiden win was over 2500 and you wouldn’t get that too often.
“The horse is a class animal and he has the pedigree to suggest that he can.
“When you ride him he is just a beautiful mover and a really athletic type, but he is really not a ten furlong horse.
“2400 and even the two mile is exactly what he is looking for.
“With 53 and a half I think that we will see him with a turn-of-foot.”
Preferment started his 2015 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a flat 12th in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on September 5, but he stamped himself as a genuine Melbourne Cup contender with strong wins in the Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick and Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 4.
The four-year-old never looked like a winning chance when he finished ninth in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 24, but Bowman was still happy with his performance and he is confident that he can take another step-up in the 2015 Melbourne Cup.
“It wasn’t what you would regard as an eye-catching run and you didn’t walk away from it saying there is your Melbourne Cup winner, but I thought it was satisfactory,” Bowman said.
“He was in the pack there and the horse came out and won the Mackinnon on Saturday, which has franked the form.
“It was a pretty high rating Cox Plate and it was a pretty good race.”
Preferment has shown a degree of tactical versatility during his racing career to date and Bowman indicated that he would not go into the Melbourne Cup with a firm tactical plan, but expects the Victoria Derby winner to settle in the middle of the Melbourne Cup field.
“I am thinking midfield and maybe a touch worse,” Bowman said.
“It will be dependent on the pace and I am not going to go out there with any set plan on exactly where I need to be.
“I’m not going to go out there thinking that I need to be sixth, seventh or ninth – I am thinking midfield or a touch worse.
“I will have him wherever he is comfortable.”
Preferment is currently available at 2015 Melbourne Cup odds of $11 with Ladbrokes and he is on the third line of betting behind Fame Game ($4) and Trip To Paris ($8.50).
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