Joe Pride’s impressive last start stakes winner in Sydney Kuro has been confirmed as targeting a Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival run next month in the 2014 Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington Racecourse.
The flying Denman colt has been rising through the ranks at home this season winning all four of his starts on the trot including two stakes races at Royal Randwick.
Formerly with John O’Shea under whose guidance he won on debut at Hawkesbury in March before two unplaced Group runs during the autumn, Kuro kicked things off with back-to-back Warwick Farm wins this season in the mud from the inside alley with Hugh Bowman aboard.
Blake Shinn, who has been confirmed as the 2014 Melbourne Cup jockey for Junoob on the first Tuesday of November, then took over for another two wins on the trot and will stay on for the rest of the season.
The first was in the Listed Heritage Stakes (1100m) over Echo Gal where he was caught thee wide and had his saddle slip but still won without issue.
Then last Saturday he landed in front but took a trail, easing out wide before cantering up to the frontrunners on the straight to fly home and defeating Time For War by two lengths in the Listed Brian Crowley Stakes (1200m).
That effort was enough to see his Warwick Farm-based trainer Pride take serious consideration for a career-defining Group 1 assignment in Melbourne.
“He’s a lovely horse and I think he’s going to be a lot better in the autumn once he matures a bit more,” Pride said last Saturday.
“At some point you have to say enough is enough so let’s just see how he goes over the next few days.”
Pride and connections however has since been convinced he is good enough for a shot at the better races and his main aim is now the $500,000 Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) on Victoria Derby Day, November 1, which kicks off the four-meeting Melbourne Cup Carnival Saturday week.
“We’re pressing forward to the next step,” Pride said.
“I’ve been looking for an excuse to spell him but I just can’t find fault in him.
“He just continues to thrive.”
On Friday Kuro will be given a gallop to make sure he’s still traveling as fit before his trip to Victoria next week.
Also on track for a Coolmore Stud Stakes start is the Ken Keys-trained Rich Enuff who jumped the short-priced favourite in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 11.
Having controlled the race throughout the Written Tycoon colt hit the front in the final 300m of the three-year-olds’ classic but was run down by the better horse on the day to run second to Shooting To Win.
The Cranbourne-based Keys said there were no excuses for the Caulfield Guineas defeat but was extremely happy with his horse’s efforts, and having pulled up win after the briskly run race Rich Enuff will also press onto the Coolmore Stud Stakes.
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