It is shaping-up as a huge year for Benjamin...
Top Sydney trainer Gai Waterhouse and prolific racehorse owner John Singleton are both confident that the lightly raced Strawberry Boy can prove a genuine Caulfield Cup 2012 contender this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
The four-year-old Redoute’s Choice gelding has had just four career starts to date, Strawberry Boy hitting the headlines in the autumn after winning their opening two runs.
A big four length win on debut at Newcastle over 1250m was followed by an even more impressive second-up performance when the then three-year-old put four and a half lengths on their rivals in a Class 1 handicap over 1500m at Hawkesbury at the end of March.
They failed in their first stakes assignment on Golden Slipper Day however when they could only manage to finish four lengths away eighth to upset winner Polish Knight in the Group 2 Tulloch Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on April 7.
Sent for a four and a half month spell after that run, Strawberry Boy resumed last weekend to post their third win from four starts to win a benchmark 80 over 1300m at Warwick Farm with Corey Brown in the saddle.
Their progressive nature and staying ability has connections excited heading towards the spring majors, Strawberry Boy to target the $2.65 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2500m) on October 20.
“Gai has a fair opinion of Strawberry Boy,” Singleton’s racing manager Duncan Grimley said.
Grimley outlined spring plans for Strawberry Boy who will look to get into the Caulfield Cup field by winning the $150,000 Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on September 22.
“He will run in a restricted Benchmark 80 in a fortnight then go to Melbourne for the Naturalism Stakes.
“Realistically he would have to win a race like the Naturalism Stakes to get into the Caulfield Cup as his ratings are still well down.”
Caulfield Cup odds at bookmaker.com.au currently have Strawberry Boy rated a $61 chance.
The shortest-priced of Waterhouse’s 2012 Caulfield Cup contingent is another four-year-old in Fat Al, the dual Group 3 winner paying $21 as the equal third favourite with the likes of defending Caulfield Cup winner Southern Speed and reigning Melbourne Cup champ Dunaden.
Strawberry Boy was also one of 16 entries for Waterhouse in the 2012 Epsom Handicap nominations this week, the $500,000 Group 1 mile to run at Royal Randwick on October 6 during the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival.
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