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Trainer Jake Stephens has revealed that the 2014 Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes at Moonee Valley on September 5 is on the agenda for imported stayer Gris Caro.
Gris Caro made his Australian racing debut with an impressive win in the Listed Balaklava Cup (1600m) on September 4 last year and finished second in the Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) at Moonee Valley on September 27 before failing to fire in the Listed Visit Victoria Plate (1800m) at Flemington on November 5.
The With Approval entire was found with mucous in his trachea after the Visit Victoria Plate and Stephens opted to skip the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival and give Gris Caro a lengthy spell in the paddock.
“It took him a little while to get over it, we had to give him a course of antibiotics and by the time he was feeling well enough to come in it was already too late for an autumn preparation,” he said.
“Having had that long spell, it seems to have cleared up of all the little niggling problems that he did have.
“He’s got a lot more weight on him now that he’s had the year in Australia and he’s a lot bigger and more muscular.
“Last year there was bugger all of him which is typical of a lot of these French imports, but he’d be 30kg heavier than at the same stage last year.”
Stephens is yet to decide what the major 2014 Spring Racing Carnival target for Gris Caro will be, but the rising six-year-old is set to resume in the Listed Penny Edition Stakes (1400m) at Morphettville on August 23 before potentially heading to Melbourne for the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes.
“It’s pretty tough ask at weight-for-age, but he’s obviously showed that he can handle the track in the J.R.A Cup last spring,” Stephens said.
“We’re training him like a sprinter to put a bit more dash into him at the moment so that way he may have a bit more turn of foot over the shorter distances still.
“He the sort of horse that I think 2000m is probably his pet distance, but he also might get a bit further as he settles pretty well.
He’s already shown a fair bit of ability and the way he’s going at the moment he seems a fair bit better than he was last year.
“With his rating he can go either way, if he doesn’t step up and make the grade at the higher level we can look at those second tier races over the spring as well.”
The Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) looms as the most likely option for Gris Caro if he is able to prove he is capable of performing at the highest level and he is currently available at 2014 Caulfield Cup odds of $81 in the betting market with Ladbrokes.com.au.
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