The French connections of Herbert Power winner Shahwardi will be sweating on a penalty to elevate the seven year old up the order of entry and guarantee a start in the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 6.
Shahwardi has 51.5kg in the Melbourne Cup and is currently forty-two in order of entry but is certain to get a penalty to push the Alain de Royer Dupre trained stallion up the list after a last to first win in the Group 2 $220,000 Sportingbet Herbert Power (2400m) at Caulfield today.
The French stayer was having his first run in Australia and had not started since finishing third to Joshua Tree in the Group 2 €130,000 Darley Prix Kergorlay (1mile, 7 furlongs) at Deauville, France on August 19.
Stable representative Joe Murray said that Shahwardi was on a Melbourne Cup mission but a start in the Group 1 $2.5m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield next week was unlikely.
“It was a great run. The trainers prepared it beautifully. It’s only been here a few weeks and to perform like that is amazing,” Murray said.
“Tony,whose the owner of it , he really wants to aim for the Melbourne Cup, he’s had a bit of bad luck with another horse and is hoping this one does well for him.”
When asked if a Caulfield Cup start was on the agenda, Murray replied “Not sure, you will have to talk to the trainers about that.”
Winning rider Kerrin McEvoy was happy to settle at the tail of the field and let the leaders dictate the tempo of the race and after easing Shahwardi to the outside in the straight finished strongly down the middle of the track to overhaul Excluded and Exceptionally.
Fellow import Gatewood was sent out the $4 favourite and after gaining a good position midfield in the early stages, lost his spot coming to the 1200m and was unable to gain clear until well in the straight winding up in seventh spot.
“Darley didn’t have a horse in the race, it was an opportunity to get on a stayer coming over here trained by Alain and his team,” McEvoy said.
“I knew Stephanie from her time here with another horse. It all fell into place, it was good win by the horse. There was a bit of action early, a bit of pace, that was the plan just to ride to be last off the bridle, he enjoyed it. He travelled over here great, travelled sweetly during the run.”
“If he stays two mile he is going to be chance in the Melbourne Cup I think anyway.”
Shahwardi should have no trouble running the 3200m after second to Simenon over 2 mile, 5 1/2 furlongs or 4350m at Ascot in England four runs back.