The Caulfield Cup field looks set in stone but the connections of European-trained stayer Forgotten Voice are still holding out hope that the eight-year-old can earn a start in the world’s richest 2400 metre handicap race.
Forgotten Voice and Gai Waterhouse-trained Julienas were locked in a battle for the final position in the 2013 Caulfield Cup field and Melbourne Racing Club officials awarded the coveted spot to The Metropolitan Handicap runner-up, with Forgotten Voice named the first emergency.
Ryan O’Reilly has been in charge of the Nicky Henderson-trained veteran since he arrived in Australia almost three weeks ago and told Racing Victoria that he was bitterly disappointed the former hurdler missed out on earning a run in this weekend’s feature race.
“We’re naturally disappointed having to be first emergency,” O’Reilly said.
“I’m really happy with where the horse is at, he’s exactly where we want him to be at this stage.”
At the start of the year Forgotten Voice was racing exclusively over hurdles; finishing fourth in a Handicap Hurdle (3218m) at Kempton before recording an impressive win in the Group 2 Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle (3218m) and finishing second in the Grade 2 Alder Hey Top Novices’ Hurdle (3319m) during the 2013 Grand National Festival at Aintree (3319m).
The son of Danehill Dancer returned to flat racing with a narrow victory in the Listed Wolferton Handicap (2011m) at Ascot and scored the biggest win of his career when he beat 2011 Melbourne Cup fifth place finisher Lost In The Moment in the Group 3 Glorious Stakes (2414m) during the Glorious Goodwood Festival.
Forgotten Voice suffered a bout of travel sickness during the lengthy journey to Australia but recovered quickly and has impressed with his work at the International Equine Centre in Werribee.
O’Reilly is confident that Forgotten Voice will be ready to produce if he earns a start in the Caulfield Cup field and expects the tough gelding to be suited by the rough and tumble nature of the $2.5 million Group 1 event.
“His previous two wins were very good over 2000-metres and 2400-metres, particularly in a Listed handicap at Royal Ascot (June), so after those performances the owners decided to have a crack and send him out here,” O’Reilly said.
“He’s a bit of a hot headed horse and can be on his toes at times but seems to be better when he has company around him.”
Connections of Forgotten Voice remain confident that he can earn a start in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) and if there are no scratching’s tomorrow he will run in the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m) next Wednesday.
Forgotten Voice is currently available at Caulfield Cup odds of $34 – a shorter price than a number of horses that are assured of earning a run this weekend.