Cleva Quinella for 2013 Caulfield Guineas Hopes

It is shaping up as a top Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival for Rick Hore-Lacy’s progressive gelding Clevadude who beat home the odds-on favourite Cauthen in the first at Moonee Valley on Saturday.

Clevadude

Moonee Valley winner Clevadude is on track for the 2013 Caulfield Guineas. Photo: Race Horse Photos Australia.

A nicely-bred Bel Esprit three-year-old, Clevadude was having their first start in the $80,000 Sweeney Can Do Agents BM78 Handicap (1000m) since their failed 14th to Real Surreal in the $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic on the Gold Coast back in January.

Before that disastrous run the then juvenile won their opening two career starts.

And it was back on track and back to the winner’s stall on the weekend for Clevadude ahead of the three-year-old spring majors.

Ridden by apprentice Patrick Moloney for the first time in order to gain some weight relief (60kg down to 57kg), Clevadude ($3.90) was able to put a full length on the Andrew Campbell-trained Kiwi Cauthen who went out the $1.80 favourite.

Weinholt ($5) from the Peter Moody stables then finished off the trifecta a further two lengths away for a distant third.

It was an especially impressive effort too considering they missed a lot of lead-up work due to a boil on his wither.

“I honestly thought after getting boils on his wither and another little thing that wasn’t 100 percent we might have been up against it today but he won like a really good horse,” Hore-Lacy said on Saturday according to Racing Victoria.

“He certainly couldn’t have been much more impressive today.”

The resuming win puts Clevadude in line for a shot at the $1 million The BECK Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 12.

However their trainer is still not convinced they will get the mile.

“He looks a dead-set sprinter to me, but we’re hoping he’ll go onto the Caulfield Guineas. But that’s just a hope.”

While they went down as the beaten favourite, Darci Brahma colt Cauthen lost few admirers leading into their spring campaign too as they were caught up on the rails.

An eight and a half length winner on debut back home at Te Rapa last month, Cauthen travelled down under with the Caulfield Guineas also on their radar.

Connections are confident they will get there and be competitive too as they are tipped to improve over more distance on a track with a bit more room than the notoriously tight Moonee Valley circuit.

They also suffered interference at the 600m in their Australian debut on Saturday, something that likely cost them the win.

Cauthen will get the chance to turn the tables on Clevadude when the duo face off again in the $120,000 Group 3 Vain Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on August 17.

“At this stage we’ll go for the Vain Stakes, 1100 metres in a fortnight, and after that we’ll play it by ear,” Hore-Lacy said in regards to where to next for Clevadude.

2013 Caulfield Guineas nominations close tomorrow morning, Tuesday August 8, with both Cauthen and Clevadude to be entered for the classic.

Stay tuned to Races.com.au to view the full list of nominees, as well as those for the other races taken tomorrow including the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate.

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