Converge on track for Doncaster instead of All-Star Mile

Converge wins Randwick Guineas
Converge claimed the Group 1 Randwick Guineas. (Photo: Steve Hart)

The Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott training partnership have made the decision to turn down an invitation for Converge to compete in the $5 million All-Star Mile at Flemington on March 19.

The duo will instead keep the gelding in Sydney to continue with his autumn campaign.

“It’s where we planned the majority of our preparation and where we had our targets and sights set on,” Bott told Andrew Bensley on SENTrack.

“Just speaking with connections, they didn’t really want to lose sight of the campaign here, as attractive as it is, and tempting as it is to go down and contest the race.

“Would love to give him his opportunity, but going to stay here, stay disciplined, and hopefully stay on track.”

Bott revealed what the plan for the son of Frankel will be.

“The Doncaster (Handicap) is going to be his main target,” he declared.

“Obviously the attraction of the weight he’s got in that race, 49.5kg.

“Obviously it’s a race we’d love to win as well, the Doncaster, and he just profiles lovely for it.”

Bott mentioned Converge’s proven ability at the Randwick mile was part of the decision to go that way. The horse has had three starts over the track and trip for two wins and a Group 1 placing.

One of those wins over the track and trip came last start when winning the Group 1 Randwick Guineas, where he beat short-priced favourite Anamoe.

Bott indicated that regular race rider Tim Clarke will not be able to take the ride in the Group 1 Doncaster Handicap (1600m), as he will not be able to make the weight of 49.5kg. A decision on who will take the ride hasn’t been made yet, but it will be the first time that Clark does not partner the galloper in a race.

The Doncaster is to be run on April 2. This means that the Waterhouse & Bott team will be looking to give their multiple Group 1-winning galloper another run before the event.

Although a trip to Melbourne has been ruled out, a decision on exactly which way they go next hasn’t been made yet.

Bott mentioned that it would either be the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) or the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m), both to be run at Rosehill on the same day as the All-Star Mile.

Another of the gallopers from the Waterhouse & Bott yard could replace Converge in the All-Star Mile. Vangelic is a possible starter in the event, but the stable are not ready to make a decision with her yet.

“She’s certainly running in the Coolmore Classic up here on Saturday. That’s sort of a race that she’s been targeted towards,” Bott said.

“So she’ll take her place on Saturday, but certainly haven’t ruled out the All-Star Mile with her. Providing she runs up to expectations and pulls up well, we’d certainly be happy to see her take her place in the All-Star Mile.

“Obviously that final decision can’t take place until Sunday.”

Bott was optimistic about the daughter of Vancouver after the mare finished third behind subsequent Group 1 winner Forbidden Love when first-up in the Group 2 Guy Walter Stakes (1400m) at Randwick.

“There was so much to like about that first-up run,” he said.

“She was first-up at the 1400m on that Heavy 10. She obviously missed the run a fortnight before where she was unfortunately scratched at the barriers.

“So she missed that run and had to go into the Guy Walter there first-up, which I thought made it a bit of a tough ask from her, but I thought she stuck on very well.

“The two horses that had that run that campaign sort of got the better of her on that day, which is to be expected.

“I thought she was open to a good deal of improvement.”

Vangelic is rated a $51 chance with online bookmakers in the All-Star Mile, and stablemate Converge is a $6 favourite to take out the Doncaster Handicap.

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