Gold Trip on track for more riches in Peter Young Stakes

Gold Trip to return in Peter Young Stakes
A triumphant Mark Zahra aboard Gold Trip after crossing the line in last year’s Melbourne Cup. The six-year-old stallion is the $3.10 favourite for the Peter Young Stakes at Sandown on Saturday.

Gold Trip has already climbed racing’s stairway to heaven, which is why part-owner Noel Greenhalgh isn’t getting his hopes up for the Peter Young Stakes at Sandown on Saturday.

The Melbourne Cup winner is first-up in the Group 2 feature worth $300,000, and is the $3.10 favourite across betting sites after his unforgettable triumph on November 1 last year.

Of course, that was when he showed incredible race nous and stamina to lead at the 300m and hold off the pack from there.

Star jockey Mark Zahra will again have the ride.

Despite Greenhalgh keeping things calm, that isn’t to say Gold Trip’s trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace do not believe he can pick up where he left off last start – this time over 1800m.

“Anything he does from here on in is a huge bonus,” Greenhalgh told

“He did the job he was born for. It was a huge thrill.

“Typical Ciaron, they’ve been very patient with him the past few months.

“And it looks like his work’s been pretty good.”

With Victoria currently experiencing prolonged dry conditions, Greenhalgh said Maher and Eustace might consider their star stayer’s health first and keep him in cotton wool.

That is if the surface hardens from its current Good 4 state.

But it could also just be a case of friendly mind games for Gold Trip’s opponents.

“It’s exciting having the Cup winner back,” Greenhalgh said.

“I’m just hoping the track’s not too firm.

“I’d imagine if it was a 3 or something to that effect he might not go around.

“But that’ll be for Ciaron to decide.”

Archer Stakes winner Surefire is also second-up for Greenhalgh and training master Chris Waller’s stable, after his eighth place behind triumphant Godolphin superstar Anamoe in the Apollo Stakes two weeks ago.

“I’ve also got Surefire in that race. He could run well,” Greenhalgh said of the $6 winning chance.

“He did OK first-up in the race Anamoe won.

“I think there’s a heat wave down south, but hopefully they’re pouring the water on the course.”

Nugget pictured saluting in the Lord Stakes
Nugget pictured saluting in the Lord Stakes on December 26. He is a $6 winning chance for Ciaron Maher and David Eustace in the Futurity Stakes at Sandown on Saturday. Picture: Racing Photos

Greenhalgh also owns a share in Nugget, who has progressed through the grades nicely for Maher and Eustace since winning at Benchmark 88 level over a mile at Kembla Grange on November 19.

The six-year-old gelding won the Lord Stakes also at Sandown on December 26, before an admirable third last start in the CF Orr Stakes, pipped at the post by Mick Price and Michael Kent’s colt prodigy, Jacquinot.

He is a $5.50 winning chance for the Group 1 Futurity Stakes.

“The mile will suit (Nugget) better. He went really well last start,” Greenhalgh said.

“He’s a progressive type who keeps improving after running third in a Group 1 last start.”

On what could be a big afternoon for Greenhalgh, he has high hopes regarding $4.60 winning chance Zougotcha for Waller in the Group 1 Surround Stakes at Randwick.

“We’re expecting her to run well, too,” he said.

“She’s a Group 1 winner already and was unbeaten in her previous prep.

“She just looks like a very, very good filly.”

Greenhalgh believes Zougotcha has the ability to challenge $2.20 favourite for James Cummings’ stable, In Secret.

The star Godolphin sprinter is the reigning Light Fingers Stakes, Coolmore Stud Stakes and Run To The Rose winner.

But Zougotcha was an impressive two-length victor last start in the Group 1 Darley Flight Stakes at Randwick on October 1 last year.

“Not taking anything away from the Godolphin filly, but she (Zougotcha) looks very good too,” Greenhalgh said.

“It could be a good clash. Again barriers – she’s very wide (starting from barrier 11 with champion hoop James McDonald aboard).

“She might be slightly vulnerable late because the other fillies will have a run under their belts.

“But we certainly think she’s up to running very well.”

Greenhalgh said his promising filly was back at full health after being scratched from the Light Fingers Stakes.

“Zougotcha had a setback, but she should run very well too,” he said.

“She had a temperature. She was going to run in the Light Fingers when In Secret won.

“On the Wednesday before the race her temperature was one or two degrees high, so we didn’t take any chances.”

And Greenhalgh said it was a good thing his four-year-old stallion El Bodegon was his usual quirky self before the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes, also at Randwick on Saturday.

The Waller-trained runner will go into the mile feature worth $600,000 after finishing ninth in the Apollo Stakes over 1400m, four lengths behind Anamoe, two weeks ago.

“He’s actually settled down a bit. He’s always been a quirky horse,” Greenhalgh said.

“He’s had these little mannerisms where if anyone will get rid of them it’ll be Chris.

“He galloped on Wednesday and he came off the track squealing like a little child.

“He was very keen to get going.”

Greenhalgh’s $18 winning chance could be worth considering for punters because he should appreciate the step up to 1600m.

“The mile will suit him a bit better than the 1400,” he said.

“The tempo of the race didn’t suit him at all.

“He’s an interesting horse.

“He likes to get into a real ding-dong battle from about the 700, and keeps fighting and fighting.

“We wouldn’t mind seeing a bit more tempo on him and a bit more pace.”

Like Gold Trip at Sandown, Greenhalgh would like to see some more rain for El Bodegon in Sydney on Saturday, but according to the forecast that is unlikely.

“Any amount of rain would help – the wetter the better for him,” he said.

“So if the rain came he becomes more of a chance.

“Whether he gets back or forward will be the key. You’ve just got to leave that to jockeys.”

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