Caulfield Cup start in the air

Melbourne Cup hopeful Sir Charles Road.   - Trish Dunell
Melbourne Cup hopeful Sir Charles Road.

Trish Dunell

The Gr.1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) countdown for Sir Charles Road will become clearer for his connections on Tuesday.

The Kiwi stayer pleased his connections when he opened his Melbourne account with a solid fourth behind Night’s Watch in Saturday’s Gr.3 MRC Foundation Cup (2000m) at Caulfield, but a start in the Gr.1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 20 is in limbo.

“I was very pleased with his performance, but we won’t know until after the next payment (first acceptance) is made on Tuesday whether he will get in the Caulfield Cup,” co-trainer Lance O’Sullivan said.

“He’s well down the list and only got 53kgs so he might not even get in. A lot will depend on how many of the European horses pay up.”

Sir Charles Road earned a tilt at the Melbourne Cup on November 6 with his good summer – autumn form, particularly his win in the Gr.2 Chairman’s Quality (2600m) at Randwick and his handy third in the Gr.1 Sydney Cup (3200m).

He resumed when 10th in the Gr.2 Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate (1200m) at Te Rapa then sealed his trip across the Tasman with his win over 1600m at Hastings on September 1.

Dwayne Dunn took over the reins in Saturday’s MRC Foundation Cup and was very pleased with the five-year-old’s effort to finish under two lengths from Night’s Watch.

“Dwayne said he was going to improve a lot with the run and we always knew that,” O’Sullivan said. “He hadn’t run for three weeks, but he’s flying. He keeps going to the next level.

“You’ve only got to look at his first three runs last spring compared to his three this time. He needed all those runs and was well beaten.

“He’s really grown up with his trip away to Sydney. That’s made him.”

O’Sullivan was particularly pleased to see Sir Charles Road show immediate form in Melbourne.

“If he’d been beaten five or six lengths I’d have said he wasn’t up to it, but he proved he’s competitive and that was great to see,” he said.

“He’s pulled up well and now we’ve just got to wait and see whether he’s going to get into the Caulfield Cup. Really it’s one race at a time.”

Back on the home front, the O’Sullivan-Scott team will be ramping up this weekend with several runners at Avondale on Saturday.

“We brought them (the spring and summer horses) in later this year and they’re coming up nicely,” O’Sullivan said.

“We’ll have quite a few running at Avondale, including Nirvana In Fire, Fortune Patch and Andoyas and maybe Sleeping Beauty if we get some rain.”

Nirvana In Fire, a three-year-old son of Showcasing, ended his last campaign with a win at Te Rapa in July after a couple of autumn seconds.

Former Hong Kong galloper Andoyas finished last of nine second-up at Ruakaka after an eye-catching second at Te Rapa and O’Sullivan is prepared to overlook that recent placing.

“It was a better run than it looks on paper. He was beaten only four lengths and was wide,” he said. “He’s going well.” – NZ Racing Desk


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