The Mornington Cup 2013 on Wednesday week is now firmly on the agenda for Pat Carey’s local four-year-old after Durnford won the $120,000 Listed National Jockeys’ Trust Mornington Cup Prelude (2000m) at Caulfield Racecourse over the weekend.
Coming off a nice second at Sandown from last month the Helenus gelding saluted as $9 chance in the Prelude when ridden by Kerrin McEvoy, the winner overcoming barrier 10 of 10 to beat home Tuscan Fire ($6) by a long neck in a fast-finishing effort.
Race favourite, the Peter Moody-trained Elusive King ($2.90) then finished off the trifecta a further two lengths away in third.
It is now all systems go for Durnford to run in the local cup with the lucrative $350,000 Listed Mornignton Cup (2400m) to run on February 13, the winner of which is exempt from ballot for the iconic Caulfield Cup 2013 during the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival in October.
“He is a promising young stayer but was lightly framed and lacked maturity, a bit backward. There’s been no doubt about his ability and he has come on nicely of late,” Carey said on Saturday after celebrating Durnford’s second career success from 12 starts.
“He needed to win today to get his rating up, and he’s accomplished that so we will go to the Mornington Cup.
“This Prelude race is ideal preparation and it is good to see the Melbourne Racing Club setting up races like this to build a program towards the Cup.”
While their Saturday win boosted Carey’s confidence of a Mornington Cup success, the trainer wasn’t getting too far ahead of himself knowing that even with a ballot exemption a start in the $2.5 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) was still very much a pipe dream for his progressive stayer.
“Let’s just aim at Mornington and deal with that and hopefully we can continue to build a career for him beyond that,” he said.
Carey will be vying for his second Mornington Cup success this year having previously prepared the Attrition to win back in 2008.
He also finished second with his ill-fated stable star Cedarberg behind Guyno in 2011, the champ later dying during a track gallop at Moonee Valley in the spring of that year.
View the official 2013 Mornington Cup field and barrier draw once released by bookmarking us here at Races.com.au.
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