Lloyd Williams’ popular grey galloper Efficient, winner of the 2007 Melbourne Cup, is preparing to embark on their incredible seventh Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival preparation as the rising nine-year-old looks to recapture their former glory.
The Zabeel gelding has enjoyed three Group 1 victories over their 28 career start having won the 2006 Victoria Derby, 2007 Melbourne Cup and 2009 Turnbull Stakes, which came after Efficient broke down in the spring of 2008, amassing a tidy $7.78 million in prize money over that time.
Prepared in Victoria by Robert Hickmott Efficient was to have had their swansong preparation this autumn but an admirable effort last time out saw connections have a change of heart.
After two disappointing first-up efforts at Caulfield the old warhorse showed a glimpse of what they were still capable of when running a good fifth behind Peter Moody’s European import Manighar in the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m).
At their next start Efficient starved off retirement when running a slashing second beaten under half a length by Niwot in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at Royal Randwick on April 28.
Spelled after their Sydney Cup effort over the two miles, Efficient is going great guns according to Lloyd Williams’ son and fellow part-owner Nick Williams, but they are taking it easy with the veteran.
While they are a regular at the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, it has been a lackluster past four years.
Efficient’s best result last spring was a sixth to the ill-fated Pinker Pinker in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m), and they missed the 2010 carnival all together.
“This is the seventh time we’ve been getting him ready for the spring, but unfortunately he hasn’t made it very deep into the spring on four of those occasions,” Williams said.
“But he looks terrific the old boy.
“It would be hard to think that a horse rising nine is going to feature prominently in any of the big ones, but you never know with him because he’s such a talented horse and he’s only lightly raced.”
While Efficient may not be running in any of the spring majors, Williams’ Macedon Lodge certainly won’t be without representation in carnival’s top races.
Among the better known of Williams’ contingent heading into the new season are the likes of last year’s Caulfield Cup runner-up Green Moon, Bendigo Cup champ Tanby and triple Group 1 minor placegetter Mourayan.
Williams’ is also eyeing off the spring’s staying features including the world-renowned $6.2 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November with a number of lesser-known international acquisitions.
Among Williams’ imported spring hopefuls are 2011 Irish Derby runner-up Seveille and Marksmanship.
Young Galileo stallion Seville has twice raced down under during the autumn when ninth to Utah Saints in the Listed Anniversary Vase (1440m) at Caulfield before a much improved fourth, beaten under two lengths by another son of Galileo Linton, in the Group 3 RA Lee Stakes (1600m) at Morphettville.
The former Aiden O’Brien-trained Marksmanship is also by Galileo, the four-year-old entire having had just five career starts to date two of which were at Flemington last prep.
“They’re two horses that we bought in Europe last year and they look like they’re the right style of horses (for the spring carnival),” Williams said.
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