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Local trainer Pat Carey has accepted for a quartet of his stayers in Wednesday’s 2013 Mornington Cup as he looks to qualify one of them for a far more ambitious target later in the year – the $2.5 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m).
Victoria’s richest country cup clash, the $350,000 Listed Mornington Cup (2400m) has drawn a capacity field this year, four of the 17 acceptors prepared at the track by Carey.
Only two of Carey’s stablemates however are assured of a Mornington Cup start with two of them among the emergencies for the feature.
The Mornington Cup winner is exempt from ballot for one of the country’s premier events, the 2013 Caulfield Cup due to run in October during the coveted Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
Knowing how hard it is to qualify the country stayers for a big city showdown like the Caulfield Cup, Carey is very much looking forward to Wednesday where one of his four can hopefully come good.
“It’s been more and more difficult for local stayers to qualify for the Caulfield Cup,” Carey said.
“By doing this the Melbourne Racing Club has given trainers certainty and let them plan their spring carnivals without having the extra worry of the ballot.”
The best fancied of his contingent is Durnford drawn in gate 11 with Craig Williams to ride.
Williams replaces Kerrin McEvoy who was aboard the talented Helenus four-year-old for their last start win in the Listed Mornington Cup Prelude (2000m) at Caulfield on February 2 – McEvoy already engaged to ride first emergency Award Season ($4.40) should they gain a run.
Durnford has won two of their past three starts this time in, the Mornignton Cup Prelude an impressive effort as they jumped from gate 10 of 10 and managed to hold off the Dan O’Sullivan-trained Tuscan Fire – who is the current $4 favourite in the Mornington Cup odds – and hit the line first.
Durnford occupies the third line of Mornington Cup betting paying $5.
The next shortest priced of Carey’s runners on Wednesday is then third emergency Angola who drew the inside alley.
Paying $12 to win, despite needing a trio of horses to withdraw from the field before jump time, the fellow Helenus four-year-old is yet to race over further than 2000m but Carey is hoping they can develop into a mile and a half horse.
“When you’ve got a horse hitting the line at the end of 2000 metres, like he did last start, it always gives you confidence going forward,” he said.
They won two back at Ballarat over the mile by a blistering 6.5 lengths carrying 58.5kg and were competitive in the mud at Rosehill earlier this month when a close second to Secessio in a Benchmark 85 over 2000m.
Carey also prepares the Mornington Cup second emergency Altonio who at $13 is also inside the top half of the markets.
Drawn out wide with barrier 16 the nicely bred Savabeel six-year-old enjoyed a Sandown win over this distance two back with 59.5kg on their back and were last seen finishing a brave second at Moonee Valley over 2500m with 58.5kg – Wednesday they are on 54kg.
The last of Carey’s hopefuls is then Dame Claire in the extreme outside barrier who may be guaranteed a run but are one of the roughies in the race currently at a quote of $41.
The five-year-old Danehill Dancer mare was last seen running a good fourth behind Titch in the Terang Cup on February 3 when carrying 60kg and should be more competitive going back to 55.5kg on Wednesday.
She is well tried over the 2400m including her victory at Mornington in the Listed R.M. Ansett Classic (2413m) last September.
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