The now Victorian-based Stephen Brown will use a handicap race at Caulfield this weekend as a test to uncover the Mornington Cup 2014 potential of his progressive stayer Post D’France.
The Kiwi expat had their opening 11 career runs in their native New Zealand before being transferred to Brown’s care at the start of this year.
Things kicked off well for the new duo with the Postponed gelding winning their opening three starts down under.
Their Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival campaign this year then was also promising and included two wins from four starts.
Most recent the five-year-old was seen winning a mile feature at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day, his fifth win from seven starts since making the trip across the Tasman.
Now they go to Caulfield Racecourse for the first time this Saturday stepping up in distance for the $100,000 CFV Ambassadors Plate (2000m).
It will be their first look at further than a mile since their win in the Swettenham Stud Handicap (2100m) at Sandown back in May, and Brown is confident they’ll appreciate the extra meters.
“It’s not an easy race. There’s three or four nice horses in it,” Brown said of the CFV Ambassadors Plate to AAP.
How Post D’France, a $7.50 chance for Caulfield Race 7 on Saturday, performs will help determine their coming autumn preparation.
Brown is hoping they can be competitive enough to warrant targeting the lucrative $350,000 Listed Mornington Cup (2400m) on February 2.
“If he can handle them (on Saturday), we’ll press on with him towards the Mornington Cup for sure,” he said.
That will kick off an ambitious and long term plan to have them in the mix for the $2.5 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) next spring with the Mornington Cup winner automatically qualified for the world’s richest mile and a half handicap.
On Saturday Post D’France will be ridden by senior hoop Stephen Baster who replaces suspended apprentice Patrick Moloney – aboard for six of the horse’s seven runs down under and all five of their victories.
Moloney however doesn’t get the chance to add to that on the weekend having copped dual careless riding suspensions at Kyneton (Friday) and Moonee Valley (Saturday) last week.
While Baster, aboard the horse for their second at Moonee Valley two back, is a top hoop it does mean Post D’France must carry their full 56.5kg unable to claim the 3kg apprentice relief.
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