Well performed English stayer The Gold Trail has been installed the early favourite for the Listed $300,000 Ladbrokes Mornington Cup (2400m) at the Metropolitan graded stand alone meeting at Mornington on Saturday.
The Gold Trail has drawn nicely at barrier six in the field of fourteen plus two emergencies and will be ridden by big race jockey Craig Williams and sits at the top of the Ladbrokes.com.au market order at $2.50.
English trainer Charlie Appleby is hoping his good Spring Carnival form will continue with The Gold Trail after the Godolphin retained trainer claimed several feature races in Australia in October and November last year.
Appleby won the Group 3 $300,000 Geelong Cup (2400m) and the Listed $150,000 Ladbrokes Sandown Cup (3200m) with Qewy, while Francis Of Assisi took out the Group 3 $300,000 Jayco Bendigo Cup (2400m) and the Group 3 $300,000 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) at Flemington.
Oceanographer was able to gain a start in the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on the first Tuesday in November after winning the Group 3 $300,000 Lexus Stakes (2500m) three days earlier but was always well back in the field and finished twelfth to Almandin in the ‘The Race That Stops A Nation’.
Appleby was also able to prepare Scottish to run second to Jameka in the Group 1 $3m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m).
Appleby’s travelling foreman James Ferguson said that The Gold Trail has plenty of class and hopefully the six year old can win the Ladbrokes Mornington Cup and gain a ballet free entry into this year’s Caulfield Cup.
“I think he would be more similar to Scottish than the others, he stays well but the likes of Qewy, Francis (Of Assisi) and the others, they were real stayers, I think he has class, we brought him over to hopefully qualify him for the Caulfield Cup,” Ferguson told racing.com.
“I’d like to see him run well and then hopefully we can bring him back in the spring.
“I think he is in good form, he beat the likes of Prize Money in Dubai, who then went on and won so well.
“He is in good order, he came to me very fit so it is just a matter of keeping him fit.
“He is very straightforward, we are very fortunate to have Craig Williams riding him, who is top class, he will be up there on the pace somewhere and hopefully get a nice run.
“I’m glad he is going to Melbourne, he is much more than a good firm horse than a soft ground horse.”
The Gold Trail is the winner of seven of his twenty starts and has arrived in Australia after winning the US$174,000 Aabar Properties (2410m) at Meydan in Dubai on January 26.
The John O’Shea trained Tally will also carry the Godolphin royal blue colours and has drawn barrier nine in the original draw with Andrew Mallyon taking the ride.
Dark Eyes has drawn nicely at barrier two with Stephen Baster booked to ride and the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott trained gelding is chasing a hat trick of wins after taking out a 2000m BenchMark 85 Handicap at Randwick on February 25 followed by a win in the Listed $200,000 Canberra Cup (2000m) at Canberra on March 5.
Adelaide Cup winner Annus Mirabilis has drawn barrier four with Jamie Mott taking over the reins from Regan Bayliss who is riding at The BMW meeting at Rosehill in Sydney.
Seven year old Big Memory was back in the winner’s stall last start beating Ladbrokes Mornington Cup rival Cadillac Mountain in the Listed $120,000 Roy Higgins Quality (2600m) at Flemington on March 4 and has drawn awkwardly at thirteen with Luke Currie retaining the mount.
The Darren Weir trained Cadillac Mountain has drawn barrier eleven with Dean Yendall to ride while stablemate Goldstream will load into gate ten for Ben Allen and second emergency Unfurl came up with the outside barrier sixteen.
The Gold Trail heads the batting at $2.50 ahead of Dark Eyes at $9 and Tally at $9.50 who are the only other runners under the $10 mark for the Ladbrokes Mornington Cup.