The 2015 Newmarket Handicap is shaping up to be one of the most exciting races of the year and the quality pool of horses heading towards the Group 1 event at Flemington on March 14 is now even stronger after trainer Ken Keys revealed that Rich Enuff had been set for the races.
Keys revealed at the end of last year that he was considering setting Rich Enuff for an early tilt at races like the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on January 24 and the Group 1 Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 21, but he told Sky Racing HQ this morning that he now plans to save the Written Tycoon colt for the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on February 21 and the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) three weeks later.
“The initial thoughts were that we would bring him back for the Australia Stakes and the Orr, but it has all come around a bit too quick,” Keys said.
“I think that we will basically use the Newmarket as the middle point and basically the aim and then look to Sydney after that.
“We were going to trial a week ago, but we did have an elevated white blood cell, so we just backed off a little bit and we will probably trial in about three weeks.
“Maybe the Lightning may be the starting point.
“He gets in with 50 kilograms in the Newmarket and it is certainly going to be a high quality race, but it is hard not to have a crack at it with that weight.”
Rich Enuff stamped himself as a horse to watch when he recorded a dominant two and a half lengths win in the Listed McKenzie Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on August 23 and he proved that performance was no fluke when he won both the Group 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on September 13 and the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) on September 28 in impressive fashion.
The talented colt started the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) as favourite, but he was caught in the final stages of the race by Shooting To Win and he was not at his best when seventh in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on November 1.
Rich Enuff did not have the chance to spend a great deal of time in the spelling paddock, but Keys said that he is happy with the condition of his star galloper and confident that he can return to his best in the autumn.
“We hope that he has come back as good and he seems to have,” Keys said.
“He didn’t have a long time; he had a good three weeks and then he started to walk the paddock.
“It was not ideal and I would have liked to give him a bit longer, but he is a pretty happy horse in the stable environment.
“With colts they don’t want to get big and fat out there and he looks after himself pretty well.”
Keys had a very successful 2014 Spring Racing Carnival, but he is still chasing a maiden win at Group 1 level after he just missed out with Rich Enuff in the Caulfield Guineas.