Tony McEvoy’s Angaston-based galloper Pelicano showed they were on track for a 2013 Caulfield Cup bid in Melbourne this spring with their slashing first-up effort at Flemington on Saturday.
Resuming for the new season in the $150,000 Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m), the Court Of Jewels five-year-old impressed McEvoy with a come from behind run for fourth.
Working their way through a crack field that included last spring’s Emirates Stakes winner Happy Trails (5th), the Nicholas Hall-ridden Pelicano fought for their position over the final 150m and made up plenty of ground to cross just one and a quarter lengths off the winner Broken.
Their times were the fastest of the race too including hteir last furlong run in a smart 11.98 seconds.
Racing for the first time since a disappointing eighth to Julienas in the Listed NE Manion Cup (2400m) at Rosehill in March, Pelicano’s Aurie’s Star performance has McEvoy eyeing one big Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival goal.
He is now more confident that the decision to nominate Pelicano for the $2.5 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 19 was the right one and that the progressive galloper might be competitive in the classic.
“This is a horse that’s really come from nowhere, he hasn’t got a real flash pedigree but he’s got great economics, he’s got great balance and rhythm and he’s really gone to another level I think,” McEvoy said on RSN’s Correct Weight on Sunday.
“When you see him run past horses like Luckygray…he was really low-flying the last 50 yards.
“I think if I can place him correctly he’s in for a really good preparation.
“I put him in the Caulfield Cup because if you don’t put them in you’re not in, that’s probably a step too high, but you never know where these horses can come from.”
A dual stakes winner in the autumn winning Adelaide’s Birthday Cup (2035m) at home before a win in Rosehill’s Parramatta Cup (2000m) in the wet, Pelicano is yet to race at Caulfield Racecourse.
McEvoy is also represented in the Caulfield Cup nominations 2013 by his French import You Are My World ($101) who was scratched from their Australian debut at Newcastle on Saturday.
While their trainer’s confidence is high the bookies aren’t rating the horse a chance at this stage of the spring with Pelicano sitting as a $151 roughie in the Caulfield Cup odds at bookmaker.com.au.
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