Following an impressive barrier trial on Tuesday morning, trainer Sam Kavanagh is keen to test his latest British import in an Australian race.
Six-year-old gelding Tales Of Grimm joined Kavanagh’s team on the back of a sixth place finish in the 28-strong field in the prestigious Royal Hunt Cup (1609m) in June last year but has yet to run a race in Australia.
But Kavanagh won’t have long to wait to see him on the track, choosing a 1400 metre run at Sandown first-up on February 7 along with a potential run in the Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on March 14 for the gelding.
“I am keen to begin his autumn program in Melbourne, he has arrived with a handicap rating of 82, and there is a suitable race for him over 1400m at Sandown on February 7,” Kavanagh told Racing Victoria.
“Chad Schofield will ride him there and, if he runs as well as I expect, then I would like to have a go at a race like the Blamey Stakes over the mile at Flemington.”
Tales Of Grimm won just two of his twelve starts in racing in the UK and has not been seen since June last year but Kavanagh believes he’ll be better suited to Australian racing conditions.
“From an Australian perspective, there is so much to like about a horse such as Tales Of Grimm in that he has proven to be highly competitive in some of the big handicap and lower level pattern races in the UK without winning so he arrives here with a rating that we can work with,” he said.
“I like European horses that are proven on firm tracks and possess a turn of foot.
“Tales Of Grimm has shown that he can handle quick ground well but he is certainly not hopeless on tracks with give.
“I gave him a brief spell when he arrived here in August, mainly giving him work in the aquaciser while he acclimatised.
“It can often take European horses a while to be able to handle Australian conditions, especially the way that we work our horses here.”
The gelding stepped out in a 900-metre barrier trial on Tuesday with jockey Chad Lever and worked home strongly to finish runner-up.
“Chad was very happy with how strongly he finished his trial off,” said Kavanagh.
“He was not out of second gear throughout so I have plenty to work with as his preparation moves on.
If Tales Of Grimm can perform well in the 2015 Blamey Stakes, run under set weight and penalties, he will all but guarantee himself a start in the $3 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Royal Randwick Racecourse on April 4, which is Kavanagh’s major autumn goal for the gelding.
The trainer is even looking past the autumn and into the spring, highlighting the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) and Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) as potential starts for Tales Of Grimm – keeping the horse over the mile.
“The Doncaster is his major goal for the campaign but it all may come a bit too soon for him,” said Kavanagh.
“If it does, then races like the Epsom Handicap and Emirates Stakes will be targeted in the spring.”
Tales Of Grimm is just one of many autumn runners set to contest carnivals in both Melbourne and Sydney.
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