Trainer Clayton Chipperfield cannot fault star New Zealand three-year-old Catalyst ahead of the Group One winner’s introduction to Australian racing in the C S Hayes Stakes at Flemington.
But Chipperfield hopes the outside draw in the seven-horse field does not play against Catalyst because he does not want to have to spot Queensland star Alligator Blood too big a start.
Alligator Blood, winner of eight of his nine starts, is the $2 favourite with Catalyst, winner of six of his seven starts, at $2.70 for the Group Three 1400m-race.
Connections of Alligator Blood have announced an intention to lead.
“I’m very, very happy with him,” Chipperfield told RSN927.
“He travelled over well, settled in almost instantly and he’s been eating well and feeling great in his work.
“Heading into tomorrow I’ve only got one excuse – the draw.
“I think if he’s not overly quick out of the gates, which he has been quite slow the odd time, we’re going to have to ride him back and just be tactically better than them hopefully.
“But we can’t be giving Alligator Blood too many lengths. Ideally we’d love to be in the one-one and sit right behind him and hook out when we need to and possibly give him a run.
“I can’t see that happening but James McDonald can do some amazing things on a horse and with a bit of luck he can pull one out of the hat tomorrow for us.”
The Group One Australian Guineas (1600m) and $5 million All-Star Mile (1600m) are on the agenda for the NZ 2000 Guineas winner.
“If we can leave the racecourse tomorrow knowing we’re competitive we will be happy,” Chipperfield said.
Catalyst made a winning return last month when he came from back in the field to win the Group Three Mr Tiz Trophy (1200m) at Ellerslie.
“It was a phenomenal win last start but he’s going to need to be doing everything right tomorrow to be showing that sprint in the finish and rolling them with a bit of luck,” Chipperfield said.