The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Connections of reigning Caulfield Cup winner Southern Speed have confirmed the mare will defend her title in the $2.65 million handicap next month ruling out a shot at the 2012 Cox Plate for the smart five-year-old.
Prepared by father and son-in-law training team Leon Macdonald and Andrew Gluyas in Adelaide, the daughter of Southern Image ran a credible fourth on Saturday in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) finishing only two and a half lengths off Kiwi raider Ocean Park in the weight-for-age showdown.
It was an effort that pleased her trainers, Southern Image having had three earlier runs for the season including her tight victory over Manighar – who ran sixth in the Underwood – in the Group 2 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) on September 8.
Underwood Stakes winner Ocean Park is likely to bypass the Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 20 and head straight into the $3 million Group 1 Tatts Cox Plate (2040m) seven days later at Moonee Valley.
Ocean Park skyrocketed up the Cox Plate odds after their win on the weekend and is now the equal $7 third pick along with Manighar and More Joyous behind the Gai Waterhouse-trained three-year-old Pierro ($5), the favourite the one co-trainer Macdonald really doesn’t want to meet.
Southern Speed remains at $31 despite having had the race taken off the cards.
“We’ll go to the Turnbull Stakes and then the Caulfield Cup,” Macdonald said.
“The Cox Plate is off the list.”
The $500,000 Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) runs at Flemington on October 6.
In the latest Caulfield Cup betting markets meanwhile Southern Speed is the $16 second pick along with eye-catching Underwood Stakes third placegetter December Draw, Green Moon still the $14 favourite with the bookies.
Macdonald is hoping Southern Speed’s regular rider Craig Williams will be available to rider her in the Caulfield Cup 2012.
Williams won the event with her 12 months ago but is committed to ride reigning Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden, currently rated a $17 chance, if they go to the earlier spring cup clash.
The Mikel Delzangles-trained French galloper however is only 50-50 for the Caulfield Cup as having suffered a spring setback with a foot abscess.
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