Freedman?s Speed Gifted chance
Caulfield Cup second favourite Speed Gifted will get the chance to cement a start in next month’s $2.5 million race after the sneaking into the field for Saturday’s Naturalism Stakes at Caulfield.
The Lee Freedman-trained import is first emergency for the Group Three Naturalism (2000m) but with Pacino on his way to Sydney, he gains a start.
Trainer Clinton McDonald said late on Thursday that two-state acceptor Pacino would go north to run in Saturday’s Group Two Hill Stakes (1900m) at Rosehill.
Pacino drew wide in barrier 16 in the Naturalism, but fared better in Sydney drawing seven in the 10-horse field.
"Yes, at this stage he’s going to Sydney," McDonald said.
Nash Rawiller has been engaged to ride Pacino in the Hill Stakes.
Imported galloper Speed Gifted is at $9 second pick with TAB Sportsbet for the Caulfield Cup (2400m), but is yet to pass the first elimination clause.
The winner of the Naturalism (2000m) is exempt from the Caulfield Cup ballot but is liable to be re-handicapped.
The $6 Caulfield Cup favourite Vigor is exempt from the ballot after winning the Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 5.
Speed Gifted has 51kg in the Caulfield Cup, 8kg below weight-for-age for a six-year-old.
The Montjeu gelding’s task has been made harder in the Naturalism, drawing barrier 18.
He will be ridden by Dwayne Dunn who is unbeaten on him in his two Australian runs, over 1620m and 1700m at Flemington.
Meanwhile Anthony Cummings is also aiming Red Lord towards the Caulfield Cup but he too needs to win the Naturalism to secure a start.
The Redoute’s Choice six-year-old, who has 51kg in the Caulfield Cup, is qualified but is currently equal 43rd in the elimination order into the 18-horse final field.
"Red Lord is going great. His last run was excellent and he’ll run well again I’d say," said Cummings referring to his fifth to Speed Gifted over 1700m at Flemington on September 5.
"The pace of the race beat him and I’d expect him to perhaps settle a little bit closer this time.
"His work since then has been excellent, so he’ll be hard to beat."
Cummings has engaged Damien Oliver for Red Lord who drew barrier eight.
Red Lord meets Speed Gifted 2kg better for beating beaten 2-1/4 lengths by him last start.
Queensland Derby runner-up Shocking, Wagga Cup winner Macknuckle and Fordee were balloted out of the Naturalism.
Speed Gifted is the $2.60 favourite for the Naturalism while Red Lord is at $10.
By Mark Ryan