Gingernuts’ co-trainer Jamie Richards hopes their patience with the Kiwi cult hero will be rewarded at Flemington on Saturday.
The star four-year-old was slated to contest the Caulfield Cup on October 21, before a possible tilt at the Melbourne Cup. But those plans went awry when his final lead-up race – the Livamol Classic (on October 9) at Hastings, New Zealand – was postponed.
It’s a case of better late than never, though, with Gingernuts set to make his Melbourne debut in the final Group 1 of the Spring Carnival – the Emirates Stakes over 2000 metres.
Richards, who trains in partnership with Stephen Autridge, told The New Daily: “We were on track to run in the Caulfield Cup after Hastings, but when that meeting got abandoned, we had to change tack a bit. That’s why he’s only come over for the one run.
“The way it’s panned out, it might be a blessing in disguise because it was certainly very hard to make ground on Caulfield Cup Day.”
Gingernuts has developed a huge following, thanks largely to his interesting name, but also because of his heroics on the track.
He’s won six of his 12 starts, including three Group 1s, and more than $1.2 million in earnings.
Richards said the gelding, who will be ridden by fellow Kiwi Michael Dee, has settled in well in Melbourne, and believes he’ll take some beating in the $2 million feature.
“He’s obviously done a bit of traveling; he went to Sydney in the autumn, so he knows what it’s all about now,” Richards explained.
“He’s done some nice work, he’s been out to the beach a few times and had a paddle in the surf, so we’re very happy with him.
“He can handle any going and he’s just a genuine racehorse.
“We’re coming to the belief that his best trip is 2000 metres, we’re certainly very happy with the distance on Saturday. We think the 2000 metres is ideal for him.”
Favourite for the race (at $5 with TAB) is Folkswood, who ran third in the Cox Plate, while Gingernuts ($5.50) and Cliff’s Edge ($6) – the lone three-year-old in the event.
Australia’s premier trainer Darren Weir has three runners engaged: Gailo Chop ($7), Tosen Stardom ($9) and Cliff’s Edge.
Runner-by-runner form guide
Happy Clapper (Barrier 5, Form: 12126)
Trainer: Pat Webster, Jockey: Blake Shinn
As honest as the day is long, but prefer at 1600m.
It’s Somewhat (Barrier 11, Form: 119×03)
Trainer: James Cummings, Jockey: Brenton Avdulla
Prepared to risk here.
Gailo Chop (Barrier 9, Form: 14315)
Trainer: Darren Weir, Jockey: John Allen
Won this race two years ago, excellent 2000m record. Chance.
Tosen Stardom (Barrier 6, Form: 12126)
Trainer: Darren Weir, Jockey: Damian Lane
Better suited at 1600m.
Sense Of Occasion (Barrier 6, Form: 61×889)
Trainer: Kris Lees, Jockey: Corey Brown
Out of form. No.
Folkswood (Barrier 15, Form: 235×13)
Trainer: Charlie Appleby, Jockey: Kerrin McEvoy
Cox Plate run was good. Huge chance.
Sir Isaac Newton (Barrier 7, Form: 5×8650)
Trainer: Robert Hickmott, Jockey: Luke Currie
Harlem (Barrier 8, Form: 51586)
Trainer: David & Ben Hayes & Tom Dabernig, Jockey: Regan Bayliss
Gingernuts (Barrier 12, Form: 15×512)
Trainer: Stephen Autridge & Jamie Richards, Jockey: Michael Dee
Topline galloper. Will take some beating.
Odeon (Barrier 3, Form: 3×0011)
Trainer: Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra, Jockey: Chris Symons
In a rich vein of form, but up in class. Place.
So Si Bon (Barrier 1, Form: 28330)
Trainer: Robbie Laing, Jockey: Noel Callow
Finds it hard to win.
The Taj Mahal (Barrier 2, Form: 69250)
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien, Jockey: Ben Melham
Has ability, but hasn’t won since October last year.
Samovare (Barrier 13, Form: 21272)
Trainer: David & Ben Hayes & Tom Dabernig, Jockey: Dwayne Dunn
Talented mare. Each way hope.
Cliff’s Edge (Barrier 10, Form: 81212)
Trainer: Darren Weir, Jockey: Dean Yendall
Quality three-year-old taking on older horses. Big show.
Trent Masenhelder’s Emirates Stakes selections:
1st. No.10 – Gingernuts
2nd. No.7 – Folkswood
3rd. No.15 – Cliff’s Edge
4th. No.14 – Samovare
Other race tips:
Matriarch Stakes (Race 6): No.10 – Savapinski
Darley Classic (Race 7): No.7 Redkirk Warrior