Ballarat trainer Matt Cumani will give Grey Lion just the one run before what he hopes will be a Melbourne Cup start for the import.
Cumani has singled out the group 3 $300,000 Geelong Cup, 2400m, on Wednesday, October 19, as Grey Lion’s only start in the lead up.
Grey Lion is ranked 30 – six outside the cut off for the Melbourne Cup field – in the order of entry after first acceptances.
This is tantalisingly close to securing a run at Flemington, but not high enough to be assured of getting into the 24-strong line-up.
Cumani said while it was impossible to know whether the ranking was enough, he remained hopeful.
He believes a Geelong Cup win would most likely get the five-year-old entire into the Melbourne Cup. Geelong Cup winners usually receive a penalty – Almoonqith was given 1kg last year – and a similar re-handicap would lift Grey Lion to 52kg and up the order of entry.
Cumani ruled out backing up Grey Lion in the Lexus Stakes at Flemington on Saturday, October 29, in a last-ditch effort to force his way into the Melbourne Cup if in danger of missing the cut.
Cumani said although the Melbourne Cup was his main target, it might be a matter of waiting another year.
The Irish-bred and former French-trained Grey Lion has been imported by ITO racing and will be staying on with Cumani beyond the spring.
He did not rule out tackling other feature races after the Melbourne Cup.
Grey Lion arrived in Australia a week ago and is halfway through the required quarantine period, which expires on October 15, at the Werribee International Horse Centre.
Cumani, who has 25 horses in work, said Grey Lion had settled in “amazingly” well.
He said he lost just 4kg on the flight, but had put that back on almost immediately.
Grey Lion is in the full-time care of Cumani’s mother Sara, with Matt visiting Werribee every few days.
He said Grey Lion had a great temperate and after very light work to begin his Australian campaign he had stepped up on Friday.
Grey Lion will stay at Werribee until after the Geelong Cup and then be relocated to Cumani’s stable.
DARREN Weir's frustrating debut campaign with Tosen Stardom has continued with the Japanese import withdrawn from Saturday's Toorak Handicap at Caulfield.
Racing.com reports that lingering effects from the injury sustained while on the float to Sydney last month, from which he was also scratched, is the reason behind the Cox Plate hopeful’s withdrawal.
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