Chris Waller’s heroic triple Cox Plate champion Winx may be spelling and absent from the Group 1 $2 million Emirates Stakes (2000m) on the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, but Gingernuts has finally arrived down under ready to race.
Winner of the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) in Sydney over the autumn, the Stephen Autridge & Jamie Richards-trained Kiwi galloper Gingernuts was originally slated as a Group 1 $3 million Caulfield Cup (2400m) prospect this spring.
The Iffraaj four-year-old had been in outstanding form at home back across the Tasman including his gutsy late win in the Group 1 Windsor Park Stakes (1600m) second-up at Hastings.
He was to have a final lead-up run in New Zealand before travelling to Victoria for the Caulfield Cup over the mile-and-a-half on October 21.
Inclement weather in the land of the long white cloud however saw a washed-out Group 1 Livamol Classic (2040m) meeting disrupt the lead-up preparations of Gingernuts.
The stable opted to stay in New Zealand and bypass the Caulfield Cup, subsequently won in an upset by 50/1 shot Boom Time, and contest the rescheduled Livamol Classic on October 22.
Gingernuts was odds-on favourite to win, but in a final stride loss went down behind Wait A Sec.
The galloper gets the chance to atone on Saturday heading to Flemington Racecourse for the first time for the weight-for-age Emirates Stakes.
Drawn wide in barrier 12 of 15, Gingernuts remains one of the top fancies in an open Emirates Stakes betting market at Ladbrokes.com.au.
A jockey for Gingernuts in the Emirates Stakes is still up in the air as Hugh Bowman awaits to appeal an 11-meeting careless riding suspension from Melbourne Cup Day.
Early favourite is the Charlie Appleby-trained Godolphin raider from the UK Folkswood who has had two lead-up runs in Australia.
First-up the Exceed And Excel gelding, who has excellent form over the Emirates Stakes distance, won the Listed Cranbourne Cup (2025m) by nearly three lengths on October 15.
The visitor raced again on October 28 taking on Winx in the Group 1 Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) and was far from disgraced running third behind the world’s best mare.
This Saturday Winx is not racing in the Emirates Stakes field, opening it up for Folkswood to return to winning form with Kerrin McEvoy retaining the ride from the outside barrier.
Looking to make history as just the second three-year-old Emirates Stakes winner, the race formerly known as the Mackinnon Stakes and held a week earlier, and the first since Casual Pass (2003) is Cliff’s Edge.
Carrying just 51kg at WFA, the ultra-consistent Darren Weir-trained Canford Cliffs colt was saved from a Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) run last Saturday.
Instead the recent Group 3 Ladbrokes Classic (2000m) winner will be out to improve on his distant second to runaway winner and this Thursday’s VRC Oaks favourite Aloisia in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Vase (2040m) from October 28 in the Emirates Stakes against the older horses.
The Emirates Stakes field also features two previous winners with Weir accepting for Gailo Chop (2015) and Patrick Webster for Happy Clapper (2014).