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Caulfield horseman Mick Price is gearing up for a big Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival with a number of his Group 1 hopes back in work including 2014 Australian Cup-bound Pakal.
Price is preparing to target both the elite level majors at Flemington’s Newmarket Handicap Day meeting on March 8.
After resuming in the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes in February his dual Group 1 winning mare Samaready will target the $1 million Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m).
He will also look to secure the $1 million Group 1 Darley Australian Cup (2000m) trophy with his imported Lord Of England gelding Pakal.
The German expat has been racing down under with Price in Melbourne since midway through the year.
They’ve had six starts in Australia for two wins including a two and a half length effort carrying a big 60kg to victory in the Listed Cranbourne Cup (2025m) on October 13.
Their latest start was at Flemington on Derby Day in early November where their trainer describes their run as luckless.
Pakal though was far from disgraced when crossing just a length and a half away fifth behind Side Glance in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) over the same track and distance as their Australian Cup target next year.
“(Jockey) Hugh Bowman got off him and said he was intimidated by the closeness of horses around him,” Price told Racing Victoria when speaking about Pakal’s Mackinnon run.
“He has had a good Australian paddock spell which he wouldn’t have had for a while so he should be blooming.”
He will have to be “blooming” in the Australian Cup too as Pakal is set to face one of the best fields in the race in years.
Other big name hopes heading towards a start include the Peter Moody-trained Kesampour, Victoria Derby champ Polanski and Gai Waterhouse’s Melbourne Cup winning import Fiorente.
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