In a wide open field that lost its draw card contenders at final acceptance stage, Paul Jones’ Melbourne Cup Day winner Mujadale is in with a strong chance of taking out some black type in the Sandown Cup 2013this Saturday.
Scheduled to run as Race 2 at 12:50pm (AEST), this year’s $150,000 Listed Sandown Cup (3200m) runs at Caulfield Racecourse with Sandown undergoing renovations.
There are 12 stayers engaged in the two mile feature, the early favourite of which is Peter Chapple-Hyam’s British raider Caravan Rolls On ($3) having just their second run down under.
In their Australian debut the Hernando stallion was third behind Mujadale in the Carnival Handicap (2800m) at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November.
The pair will face off again on Saturday in the Sandown Cup going up to the 3200m, a distance neither galloper has been stretched to yet.
Jones’ Stawell-based Mujahid six-year-old Mujadale meanwhile occupies the second line of Sandown Cup betting at a quote of $5.50.
They will be ridden by Stephen Baster who has been aboard for their past three runs, two of which they saluted in.
After a 2400m win at Caulfield in mid-October the horse was stepped up in class for a shot at the Group 2 Drake International Cup (2500m) on Cox Plate Day.
They could only manage to finish seven lengths away sixth however to Precedence, narrow favourite for the Group 2 Zipping Classic this weekend, in the Moonee Valley feature.
Going up in distance but down in grade on Cup Day however they thrived despite the 100,000 plus crowd in a performance Jones is hoping Mujadale can pull out again this weekend when they go up to the traditional Cup distance.
“He was all worked up before the big crowd at Moonee Valley when he ran in the Drake International Cup on Cox Plate Day, but he was calm throughout at Flemington,” Jones explained to the Herald Sun this week.
“He was calm in the mounting yard and behind the barriers and he relaxed in the race.
“He is best suited to run along at his own rate like he did at Flemington and he has the talent to keep going.
“I see no reason why he won’t run the 3200m of the Cup. He rolls along at a good tempo that suits him, and he was strong at the end of the Flemington race.”
Before their two Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival victories jumping a top fancy in the Sandown Cup seemed a faraway dream for Jones and his horse.
He knew they had staying potential back in September however when they won the Sheep Hills Cup at Waracknabeal over 1800m, a race no bookie would have been doing the Sandown Cup form on.
“I guess winning the Sheep Hills Cup wasn’t the traditional way into big spring carnival races,” Jones admitted.
Their acid test is the Sandown Cup however and Jones, 42, is looking for a big of magic from the best horse in his diminutive five runner stables.
“I’ve been around horses all my life and spent a couple of stints in Korea breaking in horses, as well as a few other places around the world,” he said.
“I took out my trainers’ license eight years ago and Mujadale is the type of horse who could help me enormously.”
Among the other major Sandown Cup rivals for Mujadale to defeat are the Ciaron Maher-trained Moudre and runner-up to Mujadale last start Like A Carousel for Cranbourne trainer Ken Keys.
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