Duke’s Big Cup trial

The Sportsman Weekend - - News - MATT JONES

BREN­TON Av­dulla says pun­ters will know more about Big Duke’s Mel­bourne Cup chances af­ter he runs in to­mor­row’s Group 2 Moonee Val­ley Gold Cup (2500m).

The placeget­ter in this year’s Syd­ney Cup is com­ing off a classy win in the St Leger Stakes at Rand­wick on Ever­est day and has con­tin­ued to build nicely dur­ing his Mel­bourne Cup cam­paign.

He’s now rated a $20 chance to win the great race and takes on a small field at the val­ley his dom­i­nant $2 favourite.

Av­dulla was con­fi­dent head­ing into Satur­day’s race know­ing his horse is not only in form but im­prov­ing with each run.

“It’s a good step­ping stone to­wards the Mel­bourne Cup. I thought he won well the other day, so he’s ob­vi­ously in good or­der,” said.

“He had eight runs last prepa­ra­tion head­ing into the Syd­ney Cup and his best were his sixth, sev­enth and eight runs which is where he’s at now.”

“He’s won around the Val­ley, in the lead­ing Mel­bourne trainer’s hands and I’m sure he’ll be hard to beat.”

Av­dulla first rode the lightly raced stayer in Ho­bart Cup in Fe­bru­ary and says he should have won that day as rode him into sec­ond be­hind Count da Vinci.

As he rises in dis­tance he gets bet­ter and he made a lot of ground to fin­ish third in the Syd­ney Cup which has given his rider plenty look for­ward to in Mel­bourne.

“I think his last prepa­ra­tion has held him in good stead and he’s a pro­gres­sive stayer who’s only go­ing to keep im­prov­ing,” Av­dulla said.

“He gave me a beau­ti­ful ride the other day. He re­laxed well, trav­elled great and felt the win­ner a long way out so I think he’s go­ing in the right di­rec­tion and we’ll know a lot more on Satur­day.

“I’m con­fi­dent in the horse’s abil­ity and I don’t think two miles will be a prob­lem at the mo­ment.”

Big Duke’s big­gest dan­ger could come from the in-form Richard Freed­man stayer Au­vray who was clos­ing on him in the St Leger af­ter be­ing held up for a run on the home turn.

Mean­while, Av­dulla said he was look­ing for­ward to get­ting back on un­beaten filly De­mer­ara in the Crock­ett Stakes at Moonee Val­ley to­mor­row.

She’s over­come in­juries to put to­gether an un­beaten three-start ca­reer to date and faces her first black-type test af­ter beat­ing Work­drinks at Rose­hill last start.

“She’s tal­ented and stays against her own age sex and the 1200m around the Val­ley should suit her,” Av­dulla said.

“She de­serves her chance here. She’s won three from three, but she’s got to im­prove now that in Stakes grade.

“She puts her­self on speed, tries hard, but is still learn­ing her craft and she’ll have to im­prove on Satur­day.”

Her trainer James Cum­mings has taken his time with her and she’s ob­vi­ously passed all tests to date which has given the sta­ble con­fi­dence.

“When we brought her to town tested her at 1200 me­tres which is a hard jump for a fron­trun­ning horse like her,” he said.

“She took to it nicely and didn’t want over­rate. She just put her­self into the race kept fight­ing.

“She’s had a few weeks be­tween runs and she’s had a jump out and a trip to the Val­ley yes­ter­day to get some ex­pe­ri­ence on the track that can only help.”

Bren­ton Av­dulla is con­fi­dent Big Duke will ap­pre­ci­ate the dis­tance in to­mor­row’s Moonee Val­ley Gold Cup.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.