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John Sadler has his imported stayer Mutual Regard kicking off a Spring Cups’ campaign at the famous Flemington Racecourse on Saturday with two possible options for the veteran galloper’s maiden run for the stable.
Formerly prepared in Europe by Johnny Murtagh, the now seven-year-old Hernando gelding hasn’t raced since a 14th behind German raider Protectionist in the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) last November.
The showcase race of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival and the world’s richest handicap race is again on the agenda for Mutual Regard who pays $41 in pre-field Melbourne Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au, the two mile classic running on November 3.
Winner of last year’s Ebor Handicap at York, Mutual Regard is also likely to run in the $3 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) in the lead-up to the ‘race that stops a nation’.
Futures Caulfield Cup betting for the October 17 clash is led by Japan’s Fame Game and Kiwi-trained ATC Derby winner Mongolian Khan at $13 while Mutual Regard is a $51 shot.
His spring kicks off on Saturday on Makybe Diva Stakes Day in either the meeting’s marquee race or a slightly longer distanced non-black type handicap.
“He’s a fairly serious horse this horse,” Sadler told Racing Victoria.
“He’s won an Ebor, he’s no slouch, and in the few gallops he’s had this time in he’s showed me that he’s a pretty smart galloper.
“I’m just really looking forward to getting him out to a journey where he can be competitive.
“He’s certainly going to need the run on Saturday, but I’m looking forward to taking him to the races.”
There are 22 nominations for the $400,000 Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) including Chris Waller’s last start Memsie Stakes winner Boban, the aforementioned Mongolian Khan in his four-year-old debut and fellow star New Zealand visitor Volkstok’n’barrell.
The other option for Mutual Regard first-up is the $90,000 Spring is the Season Handicap (1700m) that attracted a bumper 43 nominations.
The horse is yet to win over anything less than 2400m so the longer the better, which is why Sadler could opt for the less prestigious of the two races for his first-up run in so long.
“His gallops have been on the course proper so he’s been on really good ground and he’s come along nicely,” he said.
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