After failing to run out a strong two miles in an Adelaide Cup failure the Richard Laming-trained Wales is out for atonement this Saturday in Victoria dropping back in distance for a shot at the 2016 Mornington Cup.
A winner of three of his 19 starts to date the Cranbourne-based Redoute’s Choice six-year-old was sixth to Real Love in Flemington’s Listed Roy Higgins Quality (2600m) two back before his dead last when 17th to Purple Smile in the Group 2 Adelaide Cup (3200m) last time out.
Laming believes the two miles didn’t suit Wales in the Adelaide Cup, and is hopeful the horse can improve sharply coming back to a mile and a half for the $300,000 Listed Mornington Cup (2400m) this weekend.
“It was his first time at the two-mile, so maybe he didn’t get the distance,” Laming told Racing Victoria.
“He ended up in front, which wasn’t the plan, so not sure what went on there.
“I wasn’t really happy with him in front – he didn’t get the chance to run the two mile.
“I purposely rode him off the speed in the Roy Higgins to get the trip, and that went out the window [in the Cup].”
The Mornington Cup attracted 25 nominations this autumn, Wales currently sitting 22nd on the order of entry sweating on a start in the capacity 14-starter field.
Should he make the cut, Laming believes he is a livewire chance to salute over further than 2040m for the first time getting in on the 54kg minimum.
In between being trampled on when 10th in February’s Group 3 Hobart Cup (2400m) and his Roy Higgins effort when beaten only five lengths, Wales posted a 2400m hurdle win.
In the Mornington Cup jockey Stephen Baster, who rode this season’s Adelaide Cup winner to victory, jumps aboard Laming’s stallion and also ran him in a smart piece of work on the course proper at Mornington on Tuesday morning.
“His work here this morning was good, he handled the track nice, Stephen gave good reports so full steam ahead for Saturday,” Laming confirmed.
Wales was formerly raced by Lloyd Williams and trained by Robert Hickmott, who are represented in the Mornington Cup nominations this year with four entries.
The stable star The United States, who won the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) on March 19, heads the Mornington Cup weights with 60.5kg.
He is unlikely to accept however and will either be sent for a spell or be saved for Saturday week’s $4 million Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) in Sydney where a clash with super mare Winx is awaiting.
Chris Waller’s five-time Group 1 champion Winx runs this Saturday at Royal Randwick as the odds-on favourite in the $3 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m).
The most like of the Hickmott-trained runners to line-up in the Mornington Cup is Gallante, with High Church and Observational facing quick back-ups after both running at Caulfield on Easter Saturday.
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