Mike may join Savvy at Valley

Talented stayer Big Mike   - Trish Dunell
Talented stayer Big Mike

Trish Dunell

Dual Group One winner Savvy Coup might not be the only Livamol Classic contestant to compete at Moonee Valley on October 27.

While the Michael and Matthew Pitman-trained Savvy Coup sealed her upcoming clash with the champion Winx in the Gr.1 A$5 million Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) with an overwhelming win in the Gr.1 Livamol Classic (2040m) at Hastings last Saturday, connections of the main placegetters are left finalising immediate plans for their charges.

Included in that group is Cambridge trainer Craig Phelan, who has now included the Gr.2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m) on Cox Plate day among the options for Big Mike following his creditable sixth in the Livamol Classic.

Even before Big Mike faced his biggest test at Hastings last Saturday Phelan had been considering a Melbourne trip for the Don Eduardo six-year-old with a possible mission being an open 2040m event at the Moonee Valley meeting on the eve of the Cox Plate.

“That’s still an option, but we’re also considering the Moonee Valley Cup,” Phelan said. 

“I’ll discuss it with the other owners in the next day or two and decide what to do. 

“I think he’d love it at the Valley. He should rail like a greyhound round there and he proved on Saturday he’s up to going over.”

Big Mike has registered four of his six wins when bowling along in front, a tactic which has been adopted in each of his three starts over the Hawke’s Bay Spring Carnival for a second over 1600m and a third over 2000m before his Livamol Classic sixth. 

Last Saturday he once again ensured it was a solid pace in the Livamol Classic and was still in front early in the run home and battled on bravely to finish four and a half lengths behind Savvy Coup.

“He just missed out on getting a cheque for fifth, but it was still a good run,” Phelan said.

“We didn’t think he’d make the field for it so when he did we had to have a go.

“He’s come through it well and looks bright.”

Dual Group One winner Lizzie L’Amour and the Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) third placegetter Danzdanzdance, who finished second and third respectively behind Savvy Coup, could clash again at Ellerslie on Melbourne Cup day in the Gr.3 OMF Stakes (2000m).

Danzdanzdance was the unluckiest runner in the Livamol Classic, being held up near the back of the field before flashing home when finally clear inside the final 200m.

“She ticked a few boxes with that run,” co-trainer Chris Gibbs said. “She proved herself left-handed and she showed she was up to it second-up. 

“I was very proud of how she dropped the bit and lobbed along after five weeks without a run.

“I was very bullish over her chances and had she not got shuffled back to an awkward position she would definitely have run second.

“Ironically it was our other runner, Hello It’s Me, who pushed her in against the rail and put her in that spot.

“We’ll let the dust settle before finalising plans with her, but the weight-for-age race at Ellerslie on Melbourne Cup day is an obvious one.”

Gibbs was also pleased with the seventh placing of Hello It’s Me, who found the line nicely despite the ground being too firm for her. 

“I don’t know what we’ll do with her now. She needs easing of the ground so we might have to put her aside.” – NZ Racing Desk


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