Sandown over Melbourne Cup 2014 for Renew

Final emergency for Saturday’s Caulfield Cup field, the Marco Botti-trained international raider Renew has been confirmed as no longer targeting the Melbourne Cup with Aussie connections instead eying a win in the 2014 Sandown Cup.

2012 Geelong Cup winner Gatewood

2012 Geelong Cup winner Gatewood is one of the Melbourne Cup-bound raiders for OTI this spring. Photo: Race Horse Photos Australia.

Today the OTI-owned UK raider was confirmed as the fourth and last emergency for this weekend’s $3 million Group 1 Crown Golden Ale Caulfield Cup (2400m), a start for the Dansili five-year-old unlikely.

Botti tried to get the gelding a confirmed spot in the capacity 18-starter Caulfield Cup line-up by running Renew in last weekend’s Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m).

The galloper could only manage to finish a well beaten 12th beating home just one other runner when nearly 12 lengths off the winner Big Memory in his Australian debut.

Big Memory has been accepted to back-up in the Caulfield Cup then after earning the ballot free ride into the classic, Tony McEvoy’s Duke Of Marmalade gelding to be ridden by Corey Brown on 52kg.

Without a Caulfield Cup lead-up, connections then know a run in the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (2400m) at Flemington Racecourse on the first Tuesday of November is also unlikely then for Renew.

So instead they’ve shelved 2014 Melbourne Cup plans with the European and now have eyes only for the much easier $150,000 Listed Sportingbet Sandown Cup (3200m) over the same distance on November 15.

OTI’s managing director Terry Henderson today confirmed the horse was set to leave the International Quarantine Centre at Werribee next Monday to start a short stint with the Ballarat-based Archie Alexander who will prepare them for the Sandown Cup bid.

Renew would then be sent to Sydney’s best trainer Chris Waller.

“He’ll stay up there for a month before he goes to his ultimate trainer, Waller,” Henderson told Racing Victoria.

“Archie has been asked to perhaps stir him up a little bit with a view of perhaps going to a Sandown Cup.”

Henderson said he hoped the move would stir something up in the horse who was “just not putting in” at Werribee.

“Hopefully we can turn him on before the end of his campaign,” he said.

Also running in the Herbert Power for OTI was Lord Van Percy, the fifth placed Sir Percy five-year-old having come off a second to Mutual Regard in the Ebor Handicap (2800m) on August 23 at York.

The Andrew Balding-trained five-year-old was now being set for the $250,000 Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington on November 1 on Victoria Derby Day.

The Lexus Stakes is the last race offering a ballot exemption into the Melbourne Cup field which was exactly what connections will be hoping Lord Van Percy, a $41 chance in Melbourne Cup betting at, will secure.

Also on the Melbourne Cup path for the OTI team were the John Gosden-trained UK stayer Gatewood and Andre Fabre’s French-trained stallion Au Revoir.

The duo touched down in Oz on Saturday having travelled well from Europe, Henderson pleased with the condition of both.

“They’re very good; Au Revoir only lost three kilos and Gatewood was about five, so they’re in great shape,” he said.

Galileo seven-year-old Gatewood has won three of his past five starts back home and comes off a Group 2 second over 2500m at Deauville from August 31 while Singspiel five-year-old Au Revoir ran fourth in the Group 2 Prix Foy (2400m) at Longchamp in mid-September.

“Gatewood has been here before and he ran a super race in the Geelong Cup (winning in 2012), so he’s here for a one-run exercise; on his form, we couldn’t be happier to be honest,” Henderson said.

“He comes into the race very well, he’s had a long season but the horse is still bright and so we’re very excited about him.”

This year will be the first down under for Au Revoir, but Henderson hopes it will be successful based on his nice Group 1 form back home.

“His last race at Longchamp was excellent; it was his first run back for two or three months and he ran fourth in hot field with three Group 1 winners in front of him,” Henderson said.

“And the form out of that race has been good, with the second horse finishing second in the Arc (Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe).”

The biggest challenge then for the French galloper would be making the starting 24 in the Melbourne Cup field.

“I think he’s about 28 (on the ballot) now, so if he doesn’t look like going direct in we’ll probably have to start in the Moonee Valley Cup and look for a penalty,” he said.

The $250,000 Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m) runs on Cox Plate Day, October 25.

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