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Connections of gun Kiwi stayer Gingernuts admit they do have the Melbourne Cup in the back of their minds for the galloper this spring down under but that the Caulfield Cup 2017 is the main priority.
Prepared at Matamata by Stephen Autridge & Jamie Richards, Iffraaj gelding Gingernuts races this weekend back home for the last time before returning to Australia for his Spring Cups’ bid.
The four-year-old is red hot favourite jumping odds-on to win the Group 1 Livamol Classic (2040m) at Hastings despite drawing the outside barrier in the third leg of the Hawke’s Bay Triple Crown.
Gingernuts earned top spot in the Livamol Classic markets after his come-from-behind success at the track second-up on September 23 in the Group 1 Windsor Park Stakes (1600m) and will be even more suited to the extra distance three runs in.
He also raced in the opening leg of the series first-up on September 2 and was far from disgraced in the Group 1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) when under three lengths beaten over the unsuitably short distance.
The galloper is best known to Aussie punters for his Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) win in the wet during the autumn when debuting down under off a win in the Group 1 NZ Derby (2400m) across the Tasman.
The then three-year-old was favourite next-up in the Group 1 ATC Derby (2400m) over the mile and a half at Randwick, but could only manage to finish three lengths back fifth behind Jon Snow.
Jon Snow has since franked that form racing three times in Melbourne this spring, returning to winning form under the lights at Moonee Valley last Friday night in the Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m).
Both smart New Zealand raiders are targeting the Group 1 $3 million BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 21.
Jon Snow is at $21 in futures Caulfield Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au allocated 54.5kg.
Gingernuts is in on 55kg and is slightly shorter in all-in Caulfield Cup odds at $17, which are led by yet another Kiwi visitor Bonneval ($5).
Gingernuts is raced by Te Akau Racing whose now Singapore-based trainer Mark Walker prepared Princess Coup for her Caulfield Cup third back in 2007 behind Master O’Reilly.
Princess Coup, like Gingernuts a decade on, came into the Caulfield Cup field via the three Hastings’ Group 1 races and also finished second at Flemington to Sirmione in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) that year.
“Mark [Walker] was back here last week and he brought up Princess Coup running in all three legs at Hastings,” co-trainer Autridge told the NZ Racing Desk.
“All along we had been debating whether to stay here for all three with Gingernuts then go over or go over earlier.
“He said Princess Coup got better with each one and not to worry about running Gingernuts in all three.
“He said she should have won the Caulfield Cup and the next one, too.”
Princess Coup also contested the 2007 Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) running a luckless 13th to Efficient and Autridge said Gingernuts would also be considered for Flemington’s two mile classic on November 7 after the Caulfield Cup was done and dusted.
“The Caulfield Cup has always been the number one aim and we’ll make our minds up after that about the Melbourne Cup,” Autridge said.
The latest Melbourne Cup odds have Gingernuts listed at $26 with the defending champion Almandin the $6.50 favourite.
Check out the latest spring racing odds online now through Ladbrokes.com.au.
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