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After initially looking to be balloted out of a run in the final field, the Anthony Cummings-trained Cluster is now on track for a shot at Saturday’s 2013 Golden Rose along with stablemate Drago.
Danehill Dancer colt Drago was never in doubt of making the $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) field at Rosehill on the weekend with four of their five starts being at Group level.
Their more notable efforts were two fourth place finishes behind this spring’s Thousand Guineas favourite Guelph in the Group 1 ATC Sires Produce – Champagne Stakes double at Randwick in April.
They were also an emphatic four length winner of the Juvenile Stayer (1800m) at Rosehill in May before coming back to run second to the Gai Waterhouse-trained War, one of five Golden Rose chances for their trainer on the weekend, in the Group 3 Up & Coming Stakes (1300m) at Warwick Farm last month.
It was a different story for Cummings’ nicely bred Fastnet Rock colt Cluster however whose official prize money sits at only $27,950.
Cluster’s had just the three runs to date and remains a maiden.
Their two runs this time in however have caught the eye.
First was a second to Va Pensiero in the Group 3 San Domenico Stakes (1100m) on August 17 before they were beaten under two lengths by the same horse a fortnight later finishing a brave fifth in the Group 3 Run To The Rose (1200m).
Cummings considered running them again last Saturday to boost their prize money but opted to roll the dice, a gamble that has paid off.
“We tossed up whether to run him in the Ming Dynasty on Saturday to get his prize money up but that would have been the wrong thing to do,” Cummings said according to AAP.
“He’s in there now and we’ve got two nice horses going to the race.”
In the latest Golden Rose Stakes betting markets it is Cluster who is the better fancied of Cummings’ duo.
Golden Rose 2013 odds are led by the rails-drawn Prince Harada ($4) and the horse that beat them home by one to win the Group 3 HDF McNeil Stakes last start, the David Hayes-trained Fast ‘N’ Rocking ($5).
Cluster then is the only other single-figure chance at $8.50 after drawing barrier seven with James McDonald to ride.
Drago meanwhile drew awkwardly in barrier 13, Peter Robl to stay on them over Cluster, and eased out to $11 for an upset win.
“Drago needs a good tempo to give him his best chance in a really strong 1400-metre race,” Cummings said.
As for the horse to beat? Cummings rates the favourite Prince Harada as the best in the field, outside of his of course.
“The Victorians have been found wanting for the most part in the past,” he said.
“But Prince Harada is the most exciting three-year-old I have seen outside of mine.”
Prince Harada will be ridden by Hugh Bowman on Saturday who jumps off Cluster to sit in the saddle of the punters’ pick.
Fast ‘N’ Rocking meanwhile will again be ridden by Brett Prebble who comes off a suspension for his role in the interference on the luckless Prince Harada in the McNeil Stakes.
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