With a trip to the trials next month on the agenda for the soon-to-return-from-injury galloper Rich Enuff, trainer Ken Keys has named the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes 2015 as a possible Group 1 target for the young gun this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
A winner of three of his six career starts to date, three-year-old Written Tycoon colt Rich Enuff had his last campaign cut short due to injury but is on track for a big return with the Cranbourne-based Keys looking at taking him to the trials in July with the horse back in work for six weeks now.
Winner of back-to-back Group races in Melbourne last September including the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) by two and a half lengths, Rich Enuff was far from disgraced in October’s Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m).
Up over the mile the progressive youngster finished just a quarter-length off the winner Shooting To Win when second in the elite level before failing at his next start to cross six lengths away seventh to Chris Waller’s star colt Brazen Beau in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m).
A ligament injury has seen him sidelined since but Keys describes his condition as “sensational” and is keen to get him back racing this spring heading towards something like the $400,000 Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield Racecourse on September 26.
“At this stage I couldn’t be happier with him and we’re aiming to have him trialling around the end of July,” Keys told Racing Victoria over the weekend.
“He looks sensational. I think a lot of his problems came about through the turnaround time between the spring and the autumn being too quick.
“When you look at the horse now he’s what I imagined he was going to become. He’s big and strong and relaxed where as in the autumn he was tight and hadn’t let down properly.”
Not wanting to rush Rich Enuff, Keys is also considering an earlier run in the new season’s opening elite level, the $400,000 Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 29, but will let the horse’s progress guide him.
“I’m very mindful that it’s a long spring and we want to be there through right through the spring,” he said.
“I’d imagine the Rupert Clarke will be on his agenda but whether or not he’s ready in time for a race like the Memsie Stakes I don’t know.
“It may be an option but we won’t be rushing anything, it will be a preparation solely on our terms. When he’s ready we’ll race him.
“I genuinely haven’t opened the calendar yet, I don’t want to plan anything until I see how he trials.”
While he was competitive over 1600m last year, Keys isn’t keen to step Rich Enuff up over further than 1400m this preparation describing the rising four-year-old as “vulnerable” over more distance.
“I think he’s vulnerable at a mile (1600m),” Keys said.
“It’s not necessarily that he doesn’t run it but it’s more that his racing style puts himself under too much pressure.”
The horseman has a big spring contingent all preparing for a bumper season, Keys also naming the $3 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 17 and the iconic $6.2 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) on the first Tuesday of November at Flemington as targets for his Sydney Cup third placed Like A Carousel and Bendigo Cup champ Bring Something who are both also back in work.
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