The 2011 Caulfield Cup may still be months away but tomorrow could be make it or break it time for the Ross Simpson and Tracey Barnes trained Viking Legend.
The five year old gelding will line up in the Wyong Cup and his performance there will dictate to connections what type of spring path he should follow.
He’s had four starts since switching from the Gai Waterhouse stables and from the very beginning his new trainers have known the expectations.
Viking Legend is part owned by former VRC chairman Andrew Ramsden who delivered Simpson the instructions to win him a Caulfield Cup.
“Andrew told me he has won five Caulfield Cups and wants a sixth and believes that Viking Legend can do it for him,” Simpson said.
“However the horse only has 50kg in the Caulfield Cup so we are going to need to win a big race and get a penalty to even get into the race.”
The Wyong Cup may not be that big race he needs, but it certainly will put them in the right direction and at the very least prove that what they’re doing may not be impossible.
“I could not be happier with the way the horse is going and the step up to the distance of the Wyong Cup will certainly be in his favour,” he said.
“I expect him to run a big race.”
Viking Legend certainly doesn’t have the most imposing record going around but at the same time he tends to be consistent with what he does.
He has two wins from 17 starts as well as seven placings with a couple more fourths and fifths thrown into the mix as well.
He’s also performed in higher grades too, winning the Dulcify Quality as a three year old as well as running second in the Spring Stakes and third in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes.
From there he went to Melbourne where he grabbed two further third placings in the Group 2 AAMI Vase and Group 1 Victoria Derby.
The following autumn that trend continued with a third in the Royal Sovereign Stakes and a second in the Randwick Guineas.
From there though he bowed a tendon in his leg resulting in a lengthy break between acing as well as a shift in stables.
“The owners tried to sell him but there was little interest so they gave him a long spell and sent him to us,” Simpson said.
“We have to manage him carefully. He is the first horse to work every morning then he comes home and spends 20 minutes with an ice pack on his leg.
“So far everything is going fine with him.”
Viking Legend’s runs so far this year haven’t been up to his usual standards running 10th in the Glasshouse Handicap at Caloundra and 11h in the Winter Stakes at Rosehill.
His last start was better though when leading all the way to just fade to fourth in the Premier’s Cup Prelude.
Following tomorrow’s Wyong Cup Viking Legend will head to the Newcastle Cup on September 14 before testing his Caulfield Cup credentials at Group 1 level in The Metropolitan.