A bright and content Charles Road is poised to enhance his Gr.1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) claims with a bold run in Saturday's Gr.3 Coongy Cup (2000m), according to Matamata trainer Lance O'Sullivan.
O'Sullivan, who trains the five-year-old in partnership with Andrew Scott, flew to Melbourne on Thursday to oversee the final preparations for the Coongy, which could yet serve as the Gr.1 Sydney Cup (3200m) placed stayer's lead-up run into next month's Melbourne Cup at Flemington.
"We're happy with him. He's bright in himself and he's settled in well. He's really enjoying the place," O'Sullivan said.
"If he runs up to his best, he's going to be very competitiive."
A winner of six of his 22 starts, including the Gr.3 City Of Auckland Cup (2400m) at Ellerslie and the Gr.2 Chairman's Handicap (2600m) at Randwick, Charles Road goes into the Coongy at the fourth start of his preparation.
After winning at Hastings over 1600m last month, the Myboycharlie five-year-old closed strongly for fourth in the Gr.3 Foundation Cup (2000m) at Caulfield last start.
"It was a really good run, first-up over ground this preparation," O'Sullivan said.
"It was his first run in three weeks and he had travelled to Melbourne so we were really happy with it. We did have a bit of an issue afterwards, with a spike in temperature but that was only for a short time.
"He was hand-walked for two or three days but missed no fast work and he's eating well and bright and happy now. There's always a bit of caution with a horse coming back from something like that but looking at him, we've got no real concerns."
An $8 chance for the Coongy with TAB bookmakers and at $51 for the Melbourne Cup, Charles Road, who races as Sir Charles Road in Australia, sits at 32nd in the order of entry for the 24-horse Melbourne Cup on November 6 so the prospects of a start are bright.
But O'Sullivan said the final decision on a Melbourne Cup start would rest with majority owner David Archer.
"He's not too far away from getting a start and with the natural attrition between now and then, there's every chance he'd make the field," O'Sullivan said.
"He's proven he can run two miles and there’s the attraction for everyone of having a runner in the big race. We've seen a few of those Europeans stepping out lately and it's a bit scary but I don't think we'd pass up the opportunity to have a runner." – NZ Racing Desk