Araldo’s place in the 2014 Melbourne Cup final field was all but cemented following Gai Waterhouse’s withdrawal of The Offer from the race.
With a field limit of 24, Araldo was teetering on the edge at No.24 in the Melbourne Cup order of entry but moved up one place after The Offer was removed.
This has led trainer Mike Moroney to weigh up his intended plans for the six-year-old on his path to the ‘race that stops the nation’.
Araldo is nominated for both the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) and Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington this Saturday, but he may not need to run in either.
The winners of both races gain a ballot exemption if they are among the Melbourne Cup nominations, which was desirable for Araldo when he was in the final spot on the order of entry but now they may be superfluous, considering he’ll risk not coming through his start well.
Araldo would get bumped out of the race in the unlikely event that the winners of both the Lexus and Mackinnon are entered for the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) and below him in the order of entry, which Moroney must consider.
“At this stage, I’m getting close to not paying up at all on Saturday and just rolling the dice,” Moroney said to Sky Racing.
The trainer will discuss the situation with the horse’s owners before making a final decision but Moroney is confident the seven-year-old has the staying ability to run well.
“It’s a bit hard to weigh him up against the overseas horses, but of the locals you’d think he would be one of the better stayers going into the Melbourne Cup,” Moroney said.
The German import was third in last year’s Lexus Stakes but after coming out of the race with a back injury he was rested for nine months.
He returned at the beginning of spring this year with a midfield finish in the Listed Thoroughbred Bloodstock Stakes (1700m) before finishing third in the Group 1 Metropolitan (2400m). He only got into the race late but managed to work home very strongly for the minor placing. He then earned a start in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) as an emergency in which he ran a cheeky race for a big roughie, coming from the back of the field to finish within 1½ lengths of the winner Admire Rakti.
The pair are likely to have an exciting rematch in the 2014 Melbourne Cup, for which Admire Rakti is $4.80 favourite with Ladbrokes.com.au. Araldo is a $19 shot in the betting market.
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