While he is skeptical to confirm his Queensland Oaks winner Gondokoro for a spring cups campaign later in the year, Mornington-based trainer Pat Carey is still going to be well represented in the Caulfield and Melbourne Cup 2013 entries.
Zabeel filly Gondokoro announced herself as a possible stayer to watch with her big three length win in last weekend’s Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m), an effort she may back-up from to run against the boys in the Queensland Derby this weekend.
Carey said she was far from confirmed for the spring however and the obvious future target for her at this stage would be the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill next April.
“We will decide for starters if she runs in Saturday’s Queensland Derby or goes for a spell,” Carey said.
“What she has done here is the springboard for what she does next.
“There is no guarantee of the spring. We could race her in the Cups or Cox Plate, but equally there are autumn riches to be had with the BMW high on the agenda.”
Still the dedicated horseman is gearing up for a big spring with his growing group of stayers that will be entered for both the $2 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) in October and the iconic $6.2 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
He is certainly making a name for himself as a star Group 1 trainer too with the Queensland Oaks his fourth at elite level.
Carey has four other stable aces along with Gondokoro including the filly’s full brother Zabeelionaire (Zabeel x Kisumu) who won the South Australian Derby last year and who is a $151 in the bookmaker.com.au markets for both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.
“Zabeelionaire, we know, has talent,” Carey said of the stallion who was dead last in the Group 2 Eagle Farm Cup (2200m) behind last year’s Queensland Oaks winner and Queensland Derby runner-up Quintessential over the weekend.
The shortest-priced of Carey’s cup hopes meanwhile is Ethiopia who is at $26 in the Caulfield Cup odds and Melbourne Cup betting markets.
The Helenus four-year-old hasn’t raced since his miserable 17th of 18 runners in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick in late April, Ethiopia unsuited to the Heavy (10) conditions on the day.
His last run before a length five and a half month spell was also, on paper, very disappointing when they were stepped up to the two miles of the Melbourne Cup but failed to beat home any other runners crossing nearly 64 lengths off the winner Green Moon.
The Australian Derby champ however has class and ability as proven by his Group 1 title and his good fourth behind Ocean Park in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m).
The $3 million Cox Plate is again on the agenda for Ethiopia, who is back in light work now, this spring and they will also be entered for the cups again.
“Ethiopia is in light training in Western Australia, working on the beach,” Carey said this week.
Carey believes an Australian-trained galloper can still take out the Melbourne Cup this year, even if they are a European import like his recent stable acquisition, the former French-trained Brigantin.
“They are in our own back yard. We are on our own dunghill and the internationals have to come here so surely we are a chance,” he said of the international raiders.
“Australian horses still have plenty of shots left
Brigantin, third for their previous trainer Andre Fabre in last year’s Geelong Cup beaten under a length by Gatewood, missed out on a start in last year’s Melbourne Cup but the Cozzene stallion will get another shot under Carey’s guidance this year.
“Brigantin had an injury coming out of the spring that we have fixed and he has been in work for five or six weeks and is looking good,” Carey said.
“He has had an extensive rehabilitation and we are getting some base into him to get him up for the spring carnival.”
They are at $34 in the Melbourne Cup odds which have four quality stayers sharing $11 favouritism with Gai Waterhouse’s 2012 Melbourne Cup runner-up Fiorente, the Luca Cumani-trained Mount Athos, Darren Weir’s Ballarat galloper Puissance De Lune and Breeders Cup runner-up Sea Moon.
Just today Carey also welcomed 2011 US Breeders Cup fourth placegetter Lucky Chappy to his stable, the High Chapparal four-year-old yet to be added to the futures markets for the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.
Lucky Chappy also ran a good third in last year’s Grade 1 Hollywood Derby (2011) and has plenty of potential to develop into a genuine cups contender down under according to their new trainer.
“Lucky Chappy, who is by High Chaparral, arrived today and he has three wins and four playings from nine starts in high quality races,” Carey said.
“I’m really looking forward to getting to know him. He is only a four-year-old so there should be plenty of upside.”
To lock in juicy early odds on your current spring cup picks visit bookmaker.com.au and access the best markets on all the upcoming Group 1 races.
Don’t have a bookmaker.com.au account? It only takes two minutes to sign-up and when you do make sure you quote the exclusive code word BONUSBET which will see your initial investment matched dollar for dollar as a bonus bet valued up to $500!