After opting to bypass a run in Sydney this autumn gone with his young Choisir gelding Marcado, Flemington horseman Steve Richards is still dreaming of a Caulfield Guineas 2014 bid for them this spring.
The lightly-raced two-year-old has had just the two starts to date, Richards originally looking at taking them to Randwick for Group 1 experience this campaign during The Championships.
Instead the youngster stayed home in Melbourne, something their trainer is now very happy about after seeing how much Marcado has matured when welcoming them back into work at the end of last month.
“The temptation was there to take him to Sydney for the Sires or the Champagne, but we had a good think about it and said we got what we did out of him at two was a bonus,” Richards told Racing Victoria.
“It may have been a blessing getting beaten in the [VRC] Sires, because we could have been tempted to go on and gone up there and run in those races, but he essentially we’ve known he was a three-year-old and he had 11.5 weeks in the paddock and it’s just done him the world of good.
“He’s come back a strong, mature horse and he looks fantastic. I couldn’t be happier with him.”
They won their debut at Flemington in mid-February becoming an instant stakes winner with their victory in the Listed Talindert Stakes (1100m).
While failing to retain their undefeated status next start back at the track 21 days later Marcado was far from disgraced when stepped up in class for the Group 2 Henry Bucks Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m).
There they faced a smart field over extra distance and were beaten only one and a half lengths finishing third behind winner Zululand.
Zululand went on to have those two subsequent runs Richards had been considering for his horse in the Group 1 ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) on April 12 and the Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m) on April 26.
Their trainer David Hayes took them to Sydney for the double where Zululand ran fifth and then and improved second respectively.
Richards is now looking towards an elite level target for Marcado during the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival with the $1 million Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) still on the agenda for October 11.
“The Caulfield Guineas is the plan at this stage, but we can always change that as we go along and see how he goes in the early races,” he said having named that as the target even before their Tailndert win on debut.
“He’ll start off in one of those three-year-old sprint races, whether that’s at the Valley in the [Listed] Mitchell McKenzie [over 1200m on August 23] or the [Group 3] Vain Stakes [over 1100m on August 16] at Caulfield or something like that I’m not sure.
“But if he looks like he’s just going to be a sprinter and not get out to the mile we could change it around and set him for the Coolmore. Basically, he’ll let us know.”
The $500,000 Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) runs at Flemington on November 1, Victoria Derby Day, on the opening day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Derby Day could also host another Richards-trained three-year-old as he looks towards the $1.5 million Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) with Justaway.
While Caulfield Guineas nominations are still months away, futures pre-post markets on the three-year-olds’ classic are already open at Ladbrokes.com.au.
The latest Caulfield Guineas odds are led by Almalad ($8.50) after the Gai Waterhouse-trained colt broke through with their Group 1 J.J. Atkins (1600m) victory at Eagle Farm over the weekend.
Marcado can be found a little further down those pre-nomination markets at $21 equal with a host of other hopefuls including the horse that beat them home in the VRC Sires’ Produce Zululand.
To get behind your early selections in the juicy Caulfield Guineas markets now up at Ladbrokes.com.au visit them today and don’t forget to follow the prompts when making your first deposit to have it matched dollar for dollar as a bonus bet valued up to $250!