One of seven international runners still in the mix for Saturday week’s Caulfield Cup, the Marco Botti-trained Renew makes his Australian race debut this weekend in the 2014 Herbert Power Stakes.
The five-year-old Dansili gelding lines-up in the Caulfield Guineas Day showdown having his first official start down under as part of a 14-horse field for the $200,000 Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m).
A last chance for horses to earn a ballot exemption for the $3 million Group 1 Crown Golden Ale Caulfield Cup (2400m) over the same track and distance on October 18, the Herbert Power is shaping up as an intriguing affair.
Current favourite in the markets at Ladbrokes.com.au is fellow international raider, the Andreas Wohler-trained German stayer Protectionist ($4.40).
Carrying the 59kg top weight from barrier two with Craig Williams in the saddle, Monsun stallion Protectionist comes off back-to-back Group 2 wins back in Europe most recently in the Prix Kergorlay over 3000m on August 24.
The fiery Renew meanwhile is at a more generous quote of $21 in Herbert Power Stakes betting, jockey Chris Symons to ride the widely-drawn galloper from barrier 14 on the 53kg minimum.
He races for the first time in a month with his latest effort being a third to Rawaki in a set weights clash carrying 59.5kg over 2835m in Great Britain.
Not having won a race in over a year, Renew has a nice record over the mile and a half with three wins and two seconds from six previous runs over the distance.
A notoriously tough horse to settle, Symons said while his reputation was as an aggressive type, baiting him with sweet treats has been working and he was looking forward to jumping on his back in the Herbert Power.
“He likes lollies; they just keep bribing him with lollies, Minties, all morning,” Symons told Racing Victoria.
“He’s quite an aggressive horse on the ground, from what I have been told, and observing as they saddled-him up he was quite aggressive. But once you’re on him he’s fine.”
Symons was pleased with how Renew felt under him after riding him for a second time at the International Quarantine Centre at Werribee on Thursday morning, saying he easily could have strode past hit-out partner Guest Of Honour had he asked the horse to.
“These stayers come over from over there and their form holds up here, which is proven in the past,” Symons said.
“So he’s definitely a nice ride heading into a 2400-metre race.”
The fellow Botti-trained Guest Of Honour also debuts down under on Caulfield Guineas Day, Damien Oliver to ride the Cape Cross six-year-old in the $400,000 Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m).
Carrying the 58kg top weight, Guest Of Honour hasn’t raced since July 12 at Ascot when winning the Group 2 Summer Mile (1600m), the stallion heading towards a run in the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 25.
Renew meanwhile is on the Spring Cups path as mentioned, but is a $201 roughie in futures Caulfield Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au.
He also holds a nomination for the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 4 and pays $101 in the early markets for the world’s richest handicap.
Symons rates him a better chance than those odds suggest though and hopes to retain his association with Renew throughout the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
To back Renew in the Herbert Power or take advantage of his juicy odds for the Caulfield and Melbourne Cup head to Ladbrokes.com.au where a generous $500 bonus bet offer is currently running for the carnival!