Decision on Metrop start for Speed Gifted on Monday
A decision on whether Speed Gifted travels to Sydney for the Metropolitan Handicap will be made after trainer Lee Freedman assesses his work at his Victorian property on Monday morning.
Freedman is keen to qualify the imported six-year-old for the $2.5 million Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 17.
"He works in the morning and then we’ll make a decision after that," Freedman said.
Speed Gifted is the $4.20 favourite for The Metropolitan with TAB Sportsbet but jockey Dwayne Dunn has his reservations about him stepping straight up to 2400 metres at just his third run this preparation.
"I would like to see him run against Maldivian (in the Turnbull Stakes) to assess him as a Cox Plate horse," Dunn said.
"This is the right year for a horse like him to have a crack at a Cox Plate."
The Turnbull Stakes (2000m) is at Flemington on Saturday while the $3 million Cox (2040m) is at Moonee Valley on October 24.
Dunn has ridden the Montjeu gelding in his three Australian starts for Flemington wins over 1620m in May and over 1700m earlier this month followed by a fourth to Red Lord in the Group Three Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield last Saturday week.
Speed Gifted hasn’t passed the first elimination clause in the Caulfield Cup but the Turnbull winner is exempt from the ballot.
A Metropolitan win would earn the horse a penalty and improve his chances of gaining a start.
Speed Gifted has 51kg in both the Caulfield Cup and the Melbourne Cup.
Stablemate Sound Of Nature will return home to Freedman’s Rye establishment after he finished sixth, with Dunn aboard, to McClintock in Saturday’s Group Three Bill Ritchie Hcp (1400m) at Randwick after missing the start.
Freedman said he would like to run the imported seven-year-old in the Group Two Crystal Mile at Moonee Valley on October 24.
"I think missing the kick was crucial because the times he had to run from where he was were impossible. I believe his splits were sensational," Freedman said.
"Just that little bit of anxiousness in the gates has cost him probably the one-one which we wanted and it has probably made the difference."
By Mark Ryan