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Gai Waterhouse is all smiles following the Randwick trials from her Melbourne Cup 2013 hopes on Friday morning, the masterful trainer especially impressed by the performance of the Queen’s horse Carlton House.
Waterhouse saddled up six of the seven starters in the opening hit-out at Royal Randwick this morning, four of which are heading towards the world’s richest handicap, the 1400m gallop dominated by her ace stayer Fiorente.
She opted for a trial over this distance as opposed to something shorter to give them the feel of still being in Europe and to get them out to something closer to what they’ll resume over in the coming weeks.
“They go too fast in a 1000-metre trial so they are better off getting into a rhythm,” Waterhouse explained.
“They didn’t go hard it was more like a working gallop and the ATC (Australian Turf Club) were fantastic for putting them on for us.”
Ridden by stable jockey Nash Rawiller imported Monsun gelding Fiorente was poised off the frontrunners right up until the straight before exploding under the command of Rawiller to run away with a three quarter length victory.
Fiorente was runner-up to Green Moon in last year’s $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) in their debut run down under for Waterhouse having previously been prepared in the UK by Sir Michael Stoute.
That incredible Aussie debut plus their game third to All Too Hard in their sole autumn run in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) back in April saw them installed as one of the top early fancies for this year’s edition of the ‘race that stops a nation’.
They are now the $12 co second elect along with Mount Athos in futures Melbourne Cup betting which is led by the Ballarat-based Puissance De Lune ($9).
While happy with the gun run from Fiorente Waterhouse was also quick to credit the trial runner-up Carlton House, the Street Cry stallion a $31 chance in the current Melbourne Cup odds.
“Carlton House did everything right at the barriers, which has been his problem in England and when he had his first start out here,” she said.
“Hugh (Bowman) said he loaded very quickly, was very relaxed and just pinged the gates.
“He was amazed how quick he came out but was also taken with how well he held on.”
A rising six-year-old, Carlton House also came to Waterhouse via Stoute and debuted for her on March 30 with a somewhat disappointing 13th to Havana Rey in the Group 2 Ajax Stakes (1500m).
Yet to be stretched further than a mile and a half the Melbourne Cup over the two miles at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November will certainly be testing for them.
On way they are likely to be well suited to the other spring cup however and are at the same $31 quote in the futures markets for the $2.5 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 19.
Waterhouse’s other spring bound runners in the trial were third placed Glencadam Gold and Michelangelo who tailed off to finish a disappointing last.
Well tried down under having been with their current trainer since August last year Refuse To Bend gelding Glencadam Gold is already a Group 1 winner here having won The Metropolitan over the 2400m at Randwick by four lengths in October.
That was their fourth straight win on Aussie soil before they failed when 15th to Dunaden in the Caulfield Cup last Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
They did improve in the Melbourne Cup however when running a brave sixth finishing only four lengths off the winner.
In late summer – early autumn they returned by were beaten 18 lengths first-up in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) on a mud track before their dead last finish behind Shoot Out in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) leading to a $51 price for the Melbourne Cup.
“Glencadam Gold was outstanding and Tim Clark said he feels enormous,” Waterhouse said after the trials.
While imported Galileo stallion Michelangelo, formerly prepared at Newmarket by John Gosden, did little to impress in this morning’s trial they are considered Waterhouse’s second best shot at taking home the ‘Loving Trophy’ at $18.
Waterhouse wasn’t worried though.
“(We) won’t see the best of him until he gets to 2400 metres,” she said.
“I haven’t mapped out campaigns yet except they’re all heading towards the first Tuesday in November.”
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