ROGER Charlton will continue to roll the dice with leading Melbourne Cup hope Withhold, determined to run in Wednesday’s Geelong Cup only if absolutely necessary.
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Sitting 34th in the Melbourne Cup order of entry, Withhold’s connections — including legendary poker player and businessman Tony Bloom — are reluctant to run the stayer before the Cup.
“The plan was always never to have a prep (race) and go straight in the Cup but it has been a bit of a freak year with lots of horses coming down and it looks like we’re going to have to have a run,” travelling foreman Tom Charlton said.
“Things can change as we’ve seen over the last few days … so we’ll play it by ear.
“At the moment, the plan is to run him at Geelong but if circumstances come right and we don’t have to, obviously we’ll have to think about it.”
Charlton is keen to avoid a penalty for the Melbourne Cup with the Geelong winner eligible to be re-handicapped.
Withhold enjoys a roll in the sand at Werribee racecourse. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
A last start winner of the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle in June, beating A Prince Of Arran, Withhold has only 53kg in the Melbourne Cup.
Charlton said the powerfully-built gelding was thriving at Werribee.
“He’s ready for a run if it comes. He’s exactly where we want him and he’s bouncing,” Charlton said.
“He’s very adaptable and has a huge capacity. Seeing him gallop here, he wouldn’t blow a candle out.
“He has got a huge lung and stride and he’s a big horse.”
Saeed bin Suroor said Caulfield Cup winner Best Solution would now progress to the Melbourne Cup on November 6, pending a possible penalty from Racing Victoria’s Greg Carpenter.
“His aim now in the Melbourne Cup,” he said.
“Today he is fresh, happy and in good form. It’s amazing how he came back after the race.
“I’m really happy with him.”
Withhold is ridden by Kerrin McEvoy during a Werribee trackwork session.Source:Getty Images
Bin Suroor said the quality of Australian racing had improved immensely in the two decades he has been competing here.
“It is tough racing here. There is better horses, better veterinary, better systems,” he said.
“Everything improved a lot.
“In the old days you could send a Group 3 horse and he would run, but these days you have to send the better horses.
“As in Group 1 winners as in Best Solution who is a two-time Group 1 winner in Germany and we sent him here to have a better chance for the Melbourne Cup.
“It’s a very hard race. I myself have finished second three times.
“It’s a two-mile race that we are aiming for now but for the moment our focus is on the Cox Plate.
“Melbourne Cup would be huge if we were to win. Over 20 years I’ve been coming to Australia.”
THE FIRMERS AND THE DRIFTERS
Michael Manley gets the lowdown from TAB’s thoroughbred manager Sally Snow on betting moves arising from Saturday’s Caulfield Cup meeting and any other moves.
Sally Snow talks all the odds adjustments to come out of the Caulfield Cup.Source:News Corp Australia
MM: Good morning Sally. The Caulfield Cup is traditionally one of the great lead in races to the Melbourne Cup. is that the case this year?
SS: I don’t think so as it was a walking race. All kudos to the winner though Best Solution.
MM: You reacted though for the Melbourne Cup.
SS: His was the best run in the race and he firmed from $26 into $9. He carried a big weight, he was wide early and had to work to slot in and then proved too good.
MM: Any other runs catch your eye in terms of the Melbourne Cup?
SS: Horses which got too far back in the field didn’t have a hope. Kings Will Dream didn’t jump and got too far back. He finished well but he’s going to struggle to get in and we eased him from $21 to $26. Youngstar finished off well running the best last 400m and she firmed from $21 into $17.
MM: What about runner-up Homesman who was only beaten in a bob of the head?
SS: He only firmed from $26 into $17. We’re thinking that was his Grand Final as its hard to see him beating Lloyd Williams’ other runners in the Melbourne Cup, Yucatan, Latrobe and third placegetter in the Caulfield Cup Cliffs Ofmoher who ran home well.
MM: I noticed Yucatan firmed from $7.50 into $7 for the Melbourne Cup despite not even running in the race.
SS: We felt it prudent to wind in a roll with a significant doubles liability and the lack of impressive runs out of the Caulfield Cup.
MM: In terms of the Melbourne Cup, the next big lead in race is Wednesday’s Geelong Cup. What’s the market there?
SS: We have Brimham Rocks as a $6 favourite with English stayer Withhold at $7.
MM: I’m hearing good reports about Withhold. What odds is he for the Melbourne Cup and what will he be if he wins the Geelong Cup.
SS: He’s $13 for the Melbourne Cup. If he won, with the strength of this year’s internationals in the Melbourne Cup, he’d firm into $10.
MM: What were the other big movers heading to Flemington in other feature races.
SS: Thinkin’ Big firmed from $9 into $3 for the Victoria Derby and he’s going to be hard to beat as he easily defeated the horses expected to be his main rivals at Flemington. Verry Elleegant firmed from $4.60 into $2.50 for the Oaks and she seems over the line.
MM: What odds will Winx start at on Saturday.
SS: I would think $1.20. She’ll anchor just about every multiple.
MM: Any Manikato Stakes move?
SS: As soon as we put the markets up Malaguerra was backed from $26 into $9.
Originally published as Geelong in play in Cup card game
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