Cambridge trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman are likely to have three runners in Victoria this week and forecast rain on Wednesday and Thursday is likely to be an assist.
Staying three-year-olds Botti and Rubira are due to step out as they continue their preparations for the Gr.1 VRC Derby (2500m) and Gr.1 VRC Oaks (2500m) respectively, while Group One winner Jon Snow will contest the Gr.1 Caulfield Cup (2400m).
Despite holding a nomination for Saturday’s Gr.3 Caulfield Classic (2000m), Baker is leaning towards starting Botti in an A$50,000 BenchMark 70 at Moe over 2050m on Thursday.
“We might go to Moe with Botti because he is right down on the minimum prizemoney for the VRC Derby and we’ve just got to get a bit of money in the bank,” Baker said.
“We’re very happy with him. He’s a dead-set staying horse and he will get his chance if he gets into the longer race.
“He is by Jakkalberry who ran third in the Melbourne Cup and won the American St Leger and he’s a three-quarter brother to Lion Tamer who won the VRC Derby, so he should stay like a mother-in-law.
“He’s not as fast as Lion Tamer but he might be a bit more of a stayer.”
Botti has drawn barrier one for Thursday’s contest and will have the services of jockey Damian Lane, who rode him to victory over 1755m at Geelong in his only Australian start.
“He will have to take on the older horses again and I think he is the only three-year-old in the race.”
Baker was pleased with the work of Botti and Rubira at Flemington on Tuesday and said the latter continues to make good improvement.
“Her work has indicated that the further she goes, the better she is going to be, and she has certainly kept improving since she has been in Australia,” he said.
Rubira finished 12th over 1400m at Caulfield on September 22 and made significant improvement when beaten only four lengths into seventh in the Gr.2 Edward Manifold Stakes (1600m) behind subsequent Group One winner Amphitrite.
“She got out-paced a bit at her first start over here, but we knew that, and she will certainly be better over 2000m.
“She did compete at a mile at stakes level as a two-year-old in New Zealand, but she is also a horse that needs a bit of cut out of the track to help her.”
Meanwhile, Baker is hoping to see Jon Snow get conditions to suit in what will be the Iffraaj entire’s second tilt at the Caulfield Cup, a race in which he finished ninth last year.
“I thought it was just an average run last start in the Turnbull after a good run in the Makybe Diva, but he probably needs a bit of rain to be at his best.
“He has done well since he has been in Australia, he has only had the two starts, but he is fit and will be suited by the return to handicap racing.
“I think he is around the same mark as last year and he got knocked out of it in the Caulfield Cup last year.
“He worked very well this morning. Damian Lane rode him and he won the Tulloch and ATC Derby on him and Saturday will be the first time he will be back on.” – NZ Racing Desk