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Melbourne trainer Peter Moody looks likely of being dually represented in the 2014 Caulfield Cup field on Saturday with his first emergency Brambles waiting on a vet check on the Jake Stephens-trained Gris Caro this afternoon.
Talk on Twitter over the past 24 hours has hinted at the scratching of Stephen’s Victor Harbor-based stayer Gris Caro from Saturday’s $3 million Group 1 Crown Golden Ale Caulfield Cup (2400m) after the With Approval six-year-old pulled up “jarry” from his last start.
That was a disappointing 12th behind the now $4.60 Caulfield Cup favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au Lucia Valentina in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 4.
Gris Caro, a 52kg lightweight for the weekend, narrowly made the capacity 18-starter Caulfield Cup field with his previous run, a win in the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on September 20.
While initially harbouring some concern over how the horse pulled up post-Turnbull Stakes loss, Stephens was confident the horse is fit and ready to bounce back in the Caulfield Cup earlier in the week.
Two years ago Stephens saddled-up a livewire Caulfield Cup chance in stable ace Alcopop ($16) who was run down on the straight by French raider Dunaden ($16) and the thought of missing out on another shot this year hits home.
“I will be really annoyed if the vets aren’t 100 per cent happy because he seems fine to me but I don’t want it to be my decision,” Stephens told News Corp.
“He was pretty ‘jarry’ after Flemington and the trip across might have some sort of effect on him so I am keen for the vets to have a look at him so it’s out of my hands.”
Stephens has since changed his tune however advising stewards the horse was “highly unlikely” to line-up on Saturday.
That final decision will be made by Racing Victoria stewards at Flemington this afternoon with the entire to be vetted before taking his spot on Caulfield Cup Day.
The Moody stables will be hoping for the opposite result from Gris Caro’s vet check with the homes their first emergency Brambles can sneak into the starting line-up and join well backed stable mate the fellow OTI-owned Lidari.
A $13 chance through Ladbrokes for Saturday, Lidari was runner-up to Lucia Valentina in the Turnbull Stakes last time out with former Queensland Derby winner Brambles a close third.
With news of Gris Caro being far from a confirmed starter on Saturday, the Caulfield Cup odds on injury-prone Savabeel six-year-old Brambles have firmed in from $26 to $15.
If Gris Caro comes out then ‘The Magic Man’ Joao Moreira will be without a mount in the race after securing the Epsom Handicap – The Metropolitan Group 1 double in Sydney in his first meeting down under for the spring.
Luke Nolen meanwhile is listed as the jockey for both Lidari and Brambles but will partner the latter with Ben Melham coming in for the Turnbull runner-up should Gris Caro come out.
If Gris Caro runs the Nolen will stick on Lidari, Racing Victoria approving the late jockey switch if needed.
“He (Brambles) is going just as well as Lidari and is a proven 2400m horse,” Moody said.
“If the opportunity presented itself to get a run, he’s a nice on-pace horse who would have a reasonable chance.
“The reason being (for the potential jockey switch) is that Melham has won on Lidari and Luke is keen to be on Brambles.”
Stay tuned to Races.com.au over the next two days for all the latest Caulfield Cup field and betting updates.
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