iskander

Race day atmosphere to turn Consul on


Top jockey Craig Williams is optimistic that race day will spark the competitive juices in Monaco Consul in the Group Two Liston Stakes at Caulfield.

Williams said he was looking forward to getting a guide on last year’s Victoria Derby winner in Saturday’s 1400m feature after the Mike Moroney-trained four-year-old felt indifferent in a jumpout at Flemington last Friday.

“I trialled him the other day and it will be interesting to see how he feels on race day,” Williams said.

“He doesn’t give you a feel in the mornings, that’s for sure.

“He is not a morning glory and you wouldn’t know he’s a Group One horse.”

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The Liston has attracted a Cox Plate-like field which includes last year’s Cox Plate winner So You Think, Melbourne Cup winner Shocking, AJC Australian Derby winner Shoot Out, Caulfield Cup placegetter Vigor and emerging four-year-olds Shamoline Warrior, Carrara and Tollesprit.

Last year’s Liston winner Predatory Pricer, now trained by Mick Price, and his dual Group One-winning stablemate Heart Of Dreams are also leading first-up chances in the 15-horse field.

“I think clearly that Mick Price holds the key to the race,” Williams said.

“I couldn’t get on them so I’m happy I’m on Monaco Consul.”

TAB Sportsbet on Thursday opened Monaco Consul at $16 while Shoot Out heads the market at $3.20 from So You Think ($4) and Heart Of Dreams ($7.50).

Monaco Consul, who won the Group One Spring Champion Stakes at Randwick in his lead-up to the Victoria Derby, hasn’t raced since the autumn when he started only four times.

While he had a winless campaign, he finished third in the AJC Australian Derby before also running third to Road To Rock at his last start in the Group One Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 24.

Williams said Thursday’s heavy track rating would suit Monaco Consul on Saturday and he is looking ahead with hopes of riding the horse to grander prizes.

“He has won first-up over 1400 metres before but there are a couple there on Saturday that are probably going to be a lot sharper than he will be over the 1400 metres,” Williams said.

“He is a very nice horse and he is nice ride for getting a feel for the future.

“There are many weight-for-age options for him at longer distances later on.”