Medici could lead in Caulfield Cup

Hong Kong trainer Peter Ho says he wouldn’t be afraid if Mr Medici tried to lead all the way in Saturday’s Caulfield Cup.

The six-year-old on Wednesday drew barrier 16 but Ho said it would make no difference to the entire’s racing pattern.

“If the pace is slow I would prefer him in front and if the pace is reasonable I would prefer to have him in second or third position,” Ho said.

“He has got good speed and is not the type of horse to try and come from behind.

“He doesn’t like to get cover. You want him running free.”

Mr Medici had his final serious hitout at Werribee with Japan’s Caulfield Cup contender Tokai Trick with the pair working over 1200 metres and running the last 600m in around a fast 34 seconds.

The gallop pleased both Ho and Tokai Trick’s trainer Kenji Nonaka.

Mr Medici convinced Ho to have a crack at the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups after beating Super Pistachio and the world-class Viva Pataca in the Group One Chater Cup (2400m) at Sha Tin on May 30.

Ho said he was unconcerned that the Caulfield Cup would be Mr Medici’s first run in nearly five months.

“He’s a professional horse and before he came here he had a barrier trial in Hong Kong,” Ho said.

“He gallops well, works well and the track here (at Werribee) is good.

“He is not a big horse and very easy to get fit.”

Ho equated the Chater Cup with the Caulfield Cup in terms of class.

He said part of Mr Medici’s appeal was his ability to handle all track conditions, noting the wet week in Melbourne and that Mr Medici had won the Chater Cup on a rain-soaked track.

He said Mr Medici made his own luck with his racing style and was a typical stayer.

“He can relax in the race and save himself,” Ho said.

“He galloped with the Japanese horse, Tokai Trick, this morning and was so relaxed. He is ready for the race.”

Champion French jockey Gerald Mosse arrives on Thursday and will ride Mr Medici in the Cup.

Mosse rode Mr Medici when he won the Chater Cup and finished third on him in the Hong Kong Gold Cup in February.

“He knows the horse 100 per cent,” Ho said.

Ho nominated last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Shocking and Tokai Trick as the hardest to beat in the Caulfield Cup.

Nonaka said Tokai Trick, although a nine-year-old, was in great condition and on track to run a big race on Saturday.

“His condition has been improving since he arrived here in Australia three weeks ago,” Nonaka said

“He has got much better muscle now and his skin is shiny and glossy.”

Nonaka said the horse’s temperament was suggestive that he knows a big race is coming.

“It is exactly what we wanted before the race,” Nonaka said

“I’m happy with the trackwork this morning, very happy.”

He said Tokai Trick was proven on wet tracks and the weather held no fears.

“In Japan he handles bad ground so rain or heavy ground wouldn’t be an issue for him,” Nonaka said

He said he expected jockey Shinji Fujita to ride his own race on Tokai Trick in the Cup, probably settling midfield from barrier 21.

Fujita finished second on Eye Popper in the 2005 Caulfield Cup behind Railings.

“We want to show a good result,” Nonaka said.