Cranbourne trainer Key Keys is plotting the spring campaigns of a number of his stable stars including rising six-year-old stayer Like A Carousel whose main aim is qualifying for the 2015 Melbourne Cup in November.
The Helike gelding has won just two of his 27 starts to date but Keys is hoping he improves this time in and earns a shot at the ‘race that stops a nation’ and runs in the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington Racecourse on Tuesday November 3.
Melbourne Cup nominations close Tuesday week but early odds at Ladbrokes.com.au, home of the $500 bonus bet offer for first time depositing players, are already out with Like A Carousel a $67 roughie.
Not having won a race since the Listed Harry White Classic (2400m) at Sandown-Hillside last September, Like A Carousel was competitive last spring including a Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m) third and a second to Renew in the Listed Sandown Cup (3200m) over the two miles.
His latest effort was over the same distance, one he is well performed over, when he finished a brave third behind the Chris Waller-trained duo Grand Marshall and Who Shot Thebarman in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at Royal Randwick on April 11 during The Championships as a $150 outsider in betting.
Connections of Like A Carousel are now keen to see him make the capacity 24-starter Melbourne Cup field that is set to attract international talent from Japan this year including current $13 favourite Fame Game.
“He’s going well since coming back into work and the ultimate aim for him is to get him into the Melbourne Cup, whether or not we can, time will tell,” Keys told Racing Victoria.
“We haven’t decided on a program yet of how we’ll be getting him there, but he’s likely to start mid-September in something like the Naturalism Stakes.
“One option is through The Bart Cummings, so we’re looking at that.
“We won’t be looking at the Caulfield Cup for him, only Melbourne.”
The $150,000 Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) runs at Caulfield Racecourse on September 19 while $300,000 Group 3 The Bart Cummings (2500m) takes place on Turnbull Stakes Day at Flemington on October 4 and offers a Melbourne Cup ballot exemption to the winner for the first time this year.
Keys also confirmed a spring cups campaign for stablemate Bring Something.
The rising five-year-old son of Sebring will head towards the country cups first including a title defence in the $240,000 Listed Bendigo Cup (2400m) on October 28, a race he won as a 7/1 shot last year.
Bring Something hasn’t raced since failing to fire when dead last, crossing 11th to Smokin’ Joey in the Group 3 Carlyon Cup (1600m) as a $60 roughie at Caulfield in mid-February where he suffered a tendon injury.
He’s tipped to improve this campaign following a successful recovery and will also target his home town cup, the $200,000 Listed Cranbourne Cup (2025m) on October 11, as well as being entered for the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.
“He had stem cell treatment and has recovered nicely from that and has commenced work now,” Keys said.
“At this stage we’re aiming to start him in the Cranbourne Cup and will look at targeting some other country cups with him.
“He’ll be entered for the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups, but it will really be a matter of how he’s going.
“We’re more aiming for something in the middle country cup wise, and the ultimate would be the Sandown Cup.”
The $3 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) runs on October 17 while the Sandown Cup is held in mid-November.
Get behind Keys’ spring cup hopes at the best odds online through Ladbrokes.com.au this season!