English trainer Charlie Appleby believes European import Scottish has all the credentials to deliver Godolphin its second victory in the Caulfield Cup.
The international racing giant won the Australian Group One in 2008 with All The Good and will saddle up two chances on Saturday, Scottish and the John O’Shea-trained Tally.
Appleby arrived in Melbourne on Thursday and has been thrilled with how his progressive young stayer has handled the trip.
He thinks Scottish, who will be ridden by Kerrin McEvoy, will be right in the finish and was bullish when asked to compare his form to that of fellow Europeans Sir Isaac Newton and Exospheric.
“I think he comes in with a good profile,” Appleby said.
“You can tie little bits of form in around a few of them and when you do that, I feel he comes out on top.
“He’s coming in off the back of a win, he’s travelled well, he looks great, I can’t think of a negative.”
There have been questions about Scottish’s ability to handle the arduous 2,400m contest, given he hasn’t won in three attempts over the distance, but Appleby dismissed them.
“Some people question about him coming up to the mile-and-a-half again,” he said.
“He was beaten by two serious horses back in England as a three-year-old in Space Age at Royal Ascot and Highland Reel at Goodwood.
“He wasn’t stopping, he was just beaten on the day by a better horse. The trip is definitely not a concern of mine.”
Internationals have a good recent record in the Caulfield Cup, with French galloper Dunaden saluting in 2012, while star Hong Kong jockey Zac Purton guided Japanese stayer Admire Rakti to victory in 2014.
However, the local markets suggest two Australian mares – Ciaron Maher’s Jameka ($3.80) and Real Love ($7.50), from the Darren Weir stable – are the ones to beat.
They’re the top two in betting, just ahead of Scottish ($8) and German raider Articus ($9), who will be ridden by Purton.
Trainer Andreas Wohler, who won the Melbourne Cup in 2014 with Protectionist for the same connections, says they deliberately targeted the Hong Kong-based rider.
“We wanted an Australian jockey with Caulfield Cup experience and Zac fits the bill,” he said.
Articus has impressed the track watchers since arriving in Melbourne, but he is another lightly raced type who carries the 2,400m query.
“The trip won’t worry him. He’s an athletic horse with tactical speed which is what you need for this race,” Wohler said.
“He may not be the most attractive horse but he’s a good racehorse and I think he’ll run out the distance. I’d hope he could slot in midfield and use his speed when it counts.”
Meanwhile, champion Hong Kong jockey Joao Moreira has been booked to ride French star Vadamos in next week’s Cox Plate.
Connections made the decision to put the Magic Man on Andre Fabre’s Group One winner after Damien Oliver was unsuccessful in appealing his 20-meeting suspension for reckless riding on Friday.