New Zealand star Gingernuts will make a belated Melbourne spring carnival appearance in the Emirates Stakes and his trainer is confident the multiple Group One winner can have an impact.
This year’s New Zealand Derby and Rosehill Guineas winner was scheduled to come to Melbourne for last month’s Caulfield Cup (2400m) but a cancelled Group One race at home forced his connections to change tack.
Gingernuts was to run in the Livamol Classic (2000m) on October 7 as his final Caulfield Cup lead-up but that meeting was called off halfway through because of rain and an unsafe track.
That put Caulfield Cup ambitions on the backburner and connections decided to remain at home for the rescheduled running of the race on October 22 and target Saturday’s Group One Emirates Stakes (2000m) at Flemington.
“We had to change our plans but we changed them because we didn’t want to risk anything,” co-trainer Stephen Autridge said.
“There were suggestions we could still come and run in the Caulfield Cup but we hadn’t planned to do it the way we would have had to do it.
“We were happy to stay home another couple of weeks, run in that Group One which he just got beaten in and then come over.
“It was all at the right timing. And what’s wrong with a $2 million 2000-metre race at Flemington?”
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Autridge hopes the gelding can get a nice enough run from a wide draw in the field of 13.
“He’s in super order so we think we’re going to put in a pretty good effort,” he said.
“We’ve drawn an average barrier (11) so it’s not going to make it easy but our rough plan will be to try to be midfield with cover and see what happens.”
Michael Dee picked up the ride after Hugh Bowman was suspended this week.
Gingernuts arrived in Melbourne nine days ago and Autridge said he took a few days to settle in but he was happy with him now.
“It probably took him until about Sunday or Monday to really please us,” he said.
“Hughie Bowman galloped him on Tuesday and was really happy. His opinion was he would be a better horse at Flemington than Caulfield anyway.
“It’s bad luck we haven’t got him on but we’re happy with young Michael.”
Gingernuts ($5.50) is being shaded for favouritism by Cox Plate placegetter Folkswood ($5), with three-year-old Cliff’s Edge at $6.