Trainer Robert Smerdon has admitted that the inconsistent Salute To Jude will need plenty of luck in the 2014 Magic Millions Guineas (1400m) at the Gold Coast on Saturday.
Salute To Jude drew gate 19 at the Magic Millions Guineas barrier draw on Tuesday and Smerdon told Racing Ahead this morning that everything will need to go perfectly for the gelding if he is going to record the biggest victory of his career to date in the $1 million event.
“It is not a good gate,” Smerdon said.
“He will get back anyway but he will certainly need things to fall into place and get a bit of luck from a draw like that.”
Salute To Jude started his summer campaign with a strong second behind the talented Lord Of The Sky in the National Patient Transport Handicap (1000m) at Caulfield on December and scored the second victory of his career in impressive fashion in the Fiesta Star Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on December 21.
The Stratum gelding was well backed in the lead-up to the Bat Out Of Hell (900m) at the Gold Coast last Saturday but got well back in the field in the early stages of the race and finished a distant tenth behind Plateau Gold.
“He missed the start by about five,” Smerdon said.
“He is a bit fidgety in the gates and he got laid into on one side and he threw himself against the side of the barriers when the gates opened.
“He was tailed off last and I did expect him to be finishing off better than he was.
“He was a little bit plain, although he was on the inside when they were all coming down the middle.
“You have to forget that one going forward and we are happy with the horse going into the race.”
Despite his Bat Out Of Hell flop and poor barrier, Salute To Jude has still found support in 2014 Magic Millions Guineas betting markets and Smerdon is confident the three-year-old can give a good account of himself if he replicates his trackwork performance from earlier this week.
“He worked on the course proper here on Wednesday morning and he was really good,” Smerdon said.
Jason McLachlan-trained Enquare ($4.60) is a narrow favourite from Wyong Magic Millions Stakes winner Sweet Idea ($4.80), the resuming Charlie Boy ($8) and Gai Waterhouse-trained Northern Glory ($9).