Caulfield Cup favourite Finche has rounded out his preparation for Saturday’s $5 million handicap with an impressive reconnaissance gallop on the Caulfield course proper on Tuesday morning.
Trainer Chris Waller was on hand for the first-time Caulfield gallop under race rider Michael Walker and he said later that not only would the exercise aid the horse in his attempt on the race this Saturday, but it also calmed connections as the world’s richest 2400-metre handicap looms.
“It just makes you sleep a little better at night and its obvious some horses do struggle when they go to a new place, especially if they are racing left-handed,” Waller said.
“But he’s very adaptable and he’s of course raced in Melbourne a few times before so it’s just one more thing we’ve got done properly to ensure he’s well prepared for such a big race.
“Michael Walker was aboard and he was happy with the way he got around the corners and most importantly, how the horse worked.
“He said he pulled up very clean in his wind, which indicates we’ve got a fit horse adapting well to Caulfield and in very good for it so looking forward to the Caulfield Cup.”
Waller admitted he wasn’t expecting Finche to go into the Caulfield Cup as the favourite.
“I was thinking maybe we’d need the two miles to get back to that very best form but to see him winning at weight-for-age level in a Group 2 race was excellent and then to back it up in a Group 1 race again over 2000 metres was perfect,” he said.
“It has exceeded what I expected of him especially after he’s had a significant break between preparations.
“He goes to the Caulfield Cup well prepared and then, hopefully, to the Melbourne Cup even better prepared.”
Finche has not only attracted the attention of punters but horse lovers also as he’s the biggest striding horse going around.
“He’s obviously getting a following with his big and extravagant action but around the stable he’s a lovely horse to deal with and I think everyone in Australia is proud to see the Juddmonte colours (turquoise and pink) racing here as well,” Waller added.
“I think with the colours, the horse and who he is, he’s certainly got a big following and hopefully its even bigger after Saturday.”
Waller also has Brimham Rocks in the Caulfield Cup and the trainer said he expected a big improvement on his latest run when bogged down in the wet at Randwick.
“He’s going well,” Waller said. “He was disappointing in the Metropolitan where he struck a wet track. Clearly his form is better on good tracks so it was disappointing to strike that when he was in such good form.
“He went around here this morning to stretch his legs and hopefully get him back into a bit of confidence in terms of form.
“He deserves to be respected. This time last year he was running in the all the right races. He ran a close second to Avilius, second in the Hotham over 2500 metres just missing out on a run in the Melbourne Cup.
“Obviously, it’s a monumental task but he’s earned his right to be there.” – Racing.com