Trainer David Vandyke has revealed that imported stayer Prince Cheri will be set for the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 22 and the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) at the same venue on April 5, if he performs well in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm this weekend.
Prince Cheri has not been seen at the races since he was beaten as favourite in the 2013 edition of The Metropolitan (2400m), but has performed well in two barrier trials; finishing fifth over 1000 metres at Randwick on February 11 and fifth behind It’s A Dundeel in a trial over 1215 metres at Randwick on February 24.
Vandyke told TVN that he does not rate Prince Cheri as a winning chance in the Chipping Norton Stakes on Saturday, but said he will be using the race to decide which path the son of Lando will take for the remainder of his 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival campaign.
“We’ll use Saturday as a guide and see how he performs,” Vandyke said.
“I don’t think a mile at weight-for-age is ideal for him first-up, but it will show us where he fits,” he said.
“If he runs to within a few lengths of the best then we’ll take a look at races like the Ranvet and The BMW.
“If not, we’ll look at the Sky High over 1900 metres in a couple of weeks.”
Prince Cheri made his Australian racing debut with a narrow win in the Lynch Contractors Handicap (1550m) at Canterbury on March 8 last year and worked his way through the grades strongly during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival.
The five-year-old resumed with an unlucky third behind Pretty Pins and The Great Snowman in the Calcoup Knitwear Handicap (1600m) at Royal Randwick on August 10 before stamping himself as the favourite for The Metropolitan with back-to-back wins in the Ranvet Handicap (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on August 31 and the Group 3 Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) at the same venue a fortnight later.
Prince Cheri was received a lovely run into the race in The Metropolitan, but was only fair in the straight and battled home to finish sixth behind Seville.
It’s A Dundeel is currently a clear favourite in 2014 Chipping Norton Stakes betting markets at odds of $1.90, while Prince Cheri is currently available at a quote of $14.