Sydney’s premier trainer Chris Waller said in the wrap-up of the Caulfield Cup that he was happy enough with the run of his beaten favourite Hawkspur and would “take the punt” on him over the two miles in the 2013 Melbourne Cup next month.
The Purrealist gelding jumped the punters’ pick in the $2.5 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on Saturday after a stellar lead-up run in the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington a fortnight earlier.
After being severely hampered in the early stages of the classic after jumping from gate 14 of 18 however, the four-year-old and jockey Jim Cassidy did their best to make up ground.
They had a luckless run however also encountering traffic on the home straight.
They finished off well putting themselves into the race during the closing stages but could still only manage to finish two and a half lengths away seventh behind the Robert Hickmott-trained winner Fawkner.
Waller on Sunday however confirmed he wasn’t giving up on the staying potential of his Queensland Derby champ and would give Hawkspur the chance to atone in the $6.2 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington Racecourse on Tuesday November 5.
While Flemington holds no fears for the classy galloper, Waller said their performance would hinge on how they handled the step up to the two miles.
“He’s good enough to be in the Melbourne Cup, the question is now whether he runs the two miles,” Waller told Racing Victoria.
“We will take that punt that he will.”
In the latest Melbourne Cup betting markets Hawkspur is rated a $12 chance.
Odds are led by last year’s Melbourne Cup runner-up Fiorente ($5.50) and Saturday’s Caulfield Cup second placed international raider Dandino ($7).
Veteran hoop Cassidy, who sits on 99 Group 1 career winning rides, said he wouldn’t jump off Hawkspur for any other horse heading into the Melbourne Cup after how they felt at Caulfield on the weekend.
Waller was also represented in the Caulfield Cup by Royal Descent (5th), Kelinni (9th) and Moriarty (10th).
Plans for his ATC Oaks winner were up in the air after Waller said she had every chance in the race.
“Nash (Rawiller) said she felt a bit ‘jarry’,” Waller said of the mare.
Kelinni, fourth in last year’s Melbourne Cup, would again head towards the famous Flemington feature as a $61 outsider with Waller believing they were looking for the two miles.
Moriarty meanwhile will now be aimed at the $300,000 Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day, November 9, as an easier end of season goal.
“He attacked the line well and realistically a race like the Queen Elizabeth would be our target,” Waller said.
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