A RUN in the Group Two Sandown Classic could be on the cards for Big Duke following its gallant fourth placing in Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup.
The Darren Weir-trained stayer came from the back of the field and made late ground to round out the first four in the race that stops a nation, an effort that jockey Brenton Avdulla described as “the best he could have done.”
“He ran terrific,” Avdulla told HorseBetting.com.au after the race.
“We always thought he was going to be a live chance to run in the top ten, we ended up getting a good gate and had a beautiful run through.”
The jockey said the horse got an ideal cart into the race, but lacked the class to bridge the gap on the leading trio.
“I thought we were going to be in the finish, but the first three probably got away on us a bit, but Weiry had him in great order.
“He’s a genuine, honest trying horse who handles all tracks and his grand final was today and I reckon he went as good as he could.
“Fourth in a Melbourne Cup, don’t reckon he could have gone much better.”
It was a strong effort from the Irish import, which has now finished in the first four of the Melbourne Cup after rounding out the placings earlier in the year in the Sydney Cup in the autumn.
Connections joked that Darren Weir ‘wanted him to run around in the last but the stewards wouldn’t let him’, and the champion trainer admitted Big Duke is one of his favourites.
“He’s a good honest horse, a bloody beauty,” Weir said.
“I wish I had a few more like him.”
The plans for the horse now could rest on its recovery after Tuesday, with the November 18 meet at Sandown earmarked for the stayer.
The trainer said that while no decision has been made on Big Duke’s next race, he is not ruling out the Sandown Classic in two weeks time.
“He ran great today, got a terrific run through them and went great.
“We’ll just see how he goes. We might back him up at Sandown for the Sandown Classic.
“He just loves the work. I’d run him.”