Trainer Mick Price believes that classy imported stayer Pakal is good enough to qualify for the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) and is looking to take the handicappers prerogative out of the equation by winning a race that offers ballot exemption for the $2.5 million event.
Pakal stamped himself as a 2013 Spring Racing Carnival contender with an impressive six lengths victory in the Legacy 2013 Badge Appeal Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on August 17 but due to a lack of prizemoney, at this stage, would miss out on qualifying for the Caulfield Cup field.
Price’s original plan was to head towards the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m), after the four-year-old gelding runs in the Listed Slickpix Stakes (1700m) at Caulfield this Saturday, but the leading trainer is now eyeing the Caulfield Cup ballot exemption on offer for the winners of the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on September 21 and the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 5.
“He’ll run in the Heatherlie on Saturday before we target the two ballot-free races, the Naturalism and the Turnbull,” Price told TVN.
“They would seem the two best options for him.
“If you want to get into the Caulfield Cup field the best way is to win one of those two races.”
The Lord Of England gelding will get the opportunity to prove that his debut Australian victory was no fluke when he takes on a tough field in the Slickpix Stakes (formely known as the Heatherlie Handicap) this weekend.
The German import is expected to be joined in the field by stablemate Bit Of Hell while the Robert Hickmott-trained Macedon Lodge team could have up to four runners with Seville, Tanby, Massiyn and Excluded all included in the initial nominations.
Peter Moody-trained French import Kesampour and European Group 1 placegetter Araldo will both make their Australian racing debuts in the Listed race that could be a key lead-up event for a number of staying races during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival.