Saturday’s Rosehill winner Stout Hearted was rewarded for his winning effort with a 1kg penalty for the Caulfield Cup but a start in the $2.5m 2400m Group 1 at Caulfield on October 20 is still up in the air.
The Chris Waller trained import scored his fourth win from his last six starts in the Group 3 $125,000 Cellarbrations Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) last Saturday but the leading trainer was uncommitted where the five year old would be heading.
The 1kg penalty handed to him by Racing Victoria’s Chief Handicapper, Greg Carpenter raising his weight to 51kg sees Stout Hearted climb to equal fifty-ninth in order of entry with the win over 2000m at Group 2 level also passing the Caulfield Cup qualifying clause.
“He is a very progressive European stayer who has won four of his six starts this preparation. Saturday was his first test at Group level and he was very strong at the end of the 2000m contest, which was run at a genuine pace, winning in race record time,” Carpenter said.
The Gai Waterhouse trained Strawberry Boy also passed the qualifying clause for his third behind Stout Hearted and has moved to equal sixty-seventh in the order of entry.
After Saturday’s win, Waller mentioned a start in the Group 1 $400,000 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick on October 6 could be a Spring target but stressed that he thought that the five year old was still a preparation away from form his best.
“I think he’s still a preparation away really and he’s been up a long time and it’s hard to be targeting one of those races or a Group 1 race at the end of a prep so we’ll just wait and see,” Waller said.
Winning rider Glyn Schofield received a wrap from Waller for a first class ride and the jockey couldn’t believe his luck when a huge run presented itself in the straight.
“It was a great ride from Glyn. He’s very good with these types of horses. He put the horse to sleep, took an inside run and got to the front early and maintained his margin,” Waller added.
Schofield compared Stout Hearted to Waller’s well performed Hawk Island who went on to be Group 1 placed on two occasions.
“This horse surprised me when I let him go and got there way too soon. What an impressive horse he is,” Schofield said.
The Paul Beshara trained Happy Trails has guaranteed himself a start in the Caulfield Cup and the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 27 after winning the Group 2 $300,000 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Happy Trails is now exempt from the ballet for both races and even though the five year old is second in order of entry behind Southern Speed in the Caulfield Cup, Beshara has indicated that he would prefer to start in the Cox Plate.
“This is a dream come true,” Beshara said after his Moonee Valley win.
“He has always showed us. He puts in a 150 per cent every time he goes out. He will definitely go to the Cox Plate now. That’s your ticket in.”
Happy Trails has firmed in the betting in the both feature races and is now a $35 chance in the Caulfield Cup which is headed by Green Moon at $13 and a $18 chance in the Cox Plate behind Gai Waterhouse’s pair of Pierro ($4.60) and More Joyous ($6.50).