Trainer Mike Moroney is confident that Araldo can secure a place in the 2014 Caulfield Cup field by winning the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Araldo made his Australian racing debut during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival and scored his maiden Australian race win in the Listed The Bart Cummings (2520m) at Flemington on October 5, but he was sent to the spelling paddock and missed the autumn after fracturing a vertebrae in his back during the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington on November 2.
The High Chaparral entire returned to racing with a credible seventh place finish in the Listed Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock Stakes (1700m) at Caulfield on August 30 and Moroney told RSN this morning that the six-year-old is in excellent condition for the Naturalism Stakes this weekend.
“I have a lot of confidence about this horse and I think that he is a very good stayer,” Moroney said.
“The trick with him is to get enough work into him for his second-up run because he has been off the scene for six months.
“He had a fracture in one of his vertebras in his back and that had to settle down and heal.
“We gave him six months off to come right, which it has, and that is the reason why he wasn’t racing during that period.
“He is back and racing really well, I thought his first-up run was terrific and we gave him a nice hit out here on Tuesday and he worked fantastic.
“I think we have him cherry ripe for Saturday.”
Araldo is currently sitting 62nd in the order of entry for the 2014 Caulfield Cup and will need to win the ballot-exempt Naturalism Stakes to be certain of a start in the Group 1 event at Caulfield on October 18.
Moroney believes that Araldo is good enough to run in the Caulfield Cup as well as the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m), but he admits that the result of the Naturalism Stakes could decide what way the imported stayer heads during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
“We are happy with the way that he is going and if he can win this then he is qualified for the Caulfield Cup and I think that he is good enough to be running around in a race like that,” Moroney said.
“Our last chance to make the Caulfield Cup would be running the week before in the Herbert Power, but in saying that if we were going to miss the Caulfield Cup we would probably go via the Moonee Valley Cup.
“It does change things a little bit, but we would like to think that we can get into the Caulfield Cup and go from the Caulfield Cup straight into the Melbourne Cup.”
Araldo is currently available at 2014 Naturalism Stakes odds of $17, with Spillway ($3) a narrow favourite from Entirely Platinum ($4.60), Bonfire ($6) and Our Voodoo Prince ($7).