Trainer David Vandyke has revealed that the 2014 Cox Plate will be the ultimate 2014 Spring Racing Carnival goal for talented mare Arabian Gold.
Arabian Gold was found to be lame after finishing second behind Tinto in the Group 1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Eagle Farm on May 31, but has now returned to trackwork and according to Vandyke has completely recovered from the hoof issue.
Vandyke told Sky Racing HQ that Arabian Gold was on track to return to the races in the Group 3 Golden Pendant (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on September 27 and is set to head to Melbourne for a crack at both the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on October 11 and the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 25.
“She is over that and she is in terrific order, I couldn’t be happier with her at the moment,” Vandyke said.
“She is mentally very well and physically she is a touch stronger than she was last preparation.
“She has just started a working gallop this week and we will bring her up and give her a couple of trials and run her in the Golden Pendant first-up.
“She will trial over 1000 and 1200 and she should be ready to go for the 1400 of the Golden Pendant.
“The Golden Pendant use to be a 1200 metre race and it was called The Research, but the conditions of that race are ideal and she will carry 57 kilos and we will use that going forward into a Melbourne campaign.
“We will go down for the Toorak two weeks later and if all goes according to plan and we are happy with her, we might give her a crack at the Cox Plate.”
Arabian Gold has raced exclusively against horses her own age during her career to date and Vandyke is confident that the Dubawi mare can make the step-up to open company during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
Vandyke said that he considered running Arabian Gold at weight-for-age level in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick during the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival, but feels that the four-year-old is only now ready to take on the best horses in Australia.
“It is a massive step and I am just hoping that she can do it,” Vandyke said.
“I said this morning that I thought she could and we will find out this spring, but I am pretty confident that she can make that transition.
“I think that if she comes up well this will be the time.
“We know that she is at her best over 2000 metres and if the sting was out of the ground all the better because she hasn’t been beaten on a slow or heavy track.”
Arabian Gold has recorded three wins at Group level during her racing career to date, but is still chasing a maiden win at the highest level after finishing second in the Queensland Oaks, fourth in the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) and sixth in the Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m).