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Trainer John O’Shea has earmarked the two races – both over 1400 metres at Caulfield in February – as suitable starts to the three-year-old colt’s autumn campaign.
Kumaon found minor success during the spring last year, running second in the Group 3 Run To The Rose (1200m) and third in the Group 2 Stutt Stakes (1600m) before just missing out on a placing in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 11.
The colt then backed-up in the Group 3 Caulfield Classic (2000m) the following week but failed over 2000 metres, finishing last of 13 runners.
O’Shea is even hesitant about Kumaon running out a strong mile, which is why the 2015 CF Orr Stakes on February 14 and Futurity Stakes on February 28 are being strongly considered.
“John is not quite sure if he runs out a really strong mile,” Godolphin stable representative Jason Walsh told Sky Racing on Tuesday.
“So the Australian Guineas is definitely still on the table for him but there’s a couple of 1400-metre Group Ones including the Orr and we may look to give him a chance in a race like that.
“(The CF Orr and the Futurity Stakes) are both races that we have certainly still got on the table for him.”
While Walsh stated the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 7 is still on the table for Kumaon, the colt did not feature among the 122 nominations that closed this afternoon.
Before the autumn carnival officially kicks off, Kumaon has been nominated for a Benchmark 90 over 1200 metres at Flemington Racecourse this Saturday.
He was one of 26 horses nominated for the race on Monday morning and will carry 57.5kg in his bid to return to Group One racing once more. Jamie Mott has secured the ride.
“He has been around the mark without getting that Group race win yet. He was fourth in a Caulfield Guineas and to finish about a length from two very good colts (in Shooting To Win and Rich Enuff) suggests he’s got the right sort of ability,” Walsh said.
The final field and barrier draw will be released Wednesday with betting markets to follow.
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