Co-trainer Shannon Hope is hoping that history will repeat at Caulfield on Saturday, with Folding Gear aiming to qualify for the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) by winning the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) for the second year in a row.
Folding Gear is currently 36th in the 2013 Caulfield Cup order of entry and will need to win the Naturalism Stakes to guarantee himself a place in the field.
The Johar gelding was far from disgraced when he finished seventh behind Dunaden in the 2012 edition of the Caulfield Cup and Hope said that the $2.5 million race at the home of the Melbourne Racing Club was the major 2013 Spring Racing Carnival target for the six-year-old.
“His main goal is the Cup,” Hope told AAP.
“That’s all we’ve got targeted this time in, and we’ll see what happens after Saturday.
“It’s not the end of the world if he doesn’t win.”
Folding Gear will need to improve significantly to win the Naturalism Stakes after he started his preparation with less than stellar performances in both the L Viney & C McKnight Handicap (1410m) at Flemington and the Listed Slickpix Stakes (1700m) at Caulfield on August 31.
His assignment was made even more difficult at the barrier draw this morning, when he drew barrier 17, and Hope is also worried that history is against her star galloper.
“Our big concern is that no horse has won back-to-back Naturalisms, but I think that’s because no-one has been silly enough to try,” Hope said.
Folding Gear is currently available at odds of $13 in a very open betting race, with Mick Price-trained import Pakal ($4.40) the favourite from Eagle Farm Cup winner Quintessential ($7.50) and last year’s runner-up Mr O’Ceirin ($7.50).
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