A decision is still pending on whether Amelia’ Jewel goes to the Cox Plate later this month, but another high-class four-year-old is already confirmed on the path to the spring’s weight-for-age championship.
The G1 Queensland Derby winner Kovalica dropped out of the Melbourne Cup nominations this week and the door was also shut on a run in the Golden Eagle (1500m) and Caulfield Cup (2400m) as trainer Chris Waller refined his campaign to target firstly the G1 King Charles 111 Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday week before a Cox Plate tilt.
“We’ve been thinking Cox Plate with him all along and that’s the way he’ll go as long as he runs as we expect in the King Charles,” Waller said.
“We always intended on running him in the Epsom (Handicap) and he ran terrific to be just beaten.
“He’s a sharp horse. I know he won a Queensland Derby (2400m) but I think he’ll peak at 2000 metres.”
Despite Waller’s glowing opinion of the winner of six of his 11 starts to date, Kovalica is rated a $17 chance to upset the confirmed weight-for-age stars in the King Charles and is a $21 chance to succeed at The Valley.
Waller said his stable’s best chances in the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups were Soulcombe and Francesco Guardi and so was keen to trim back his Melbourne Cup team at the first declaration stage this week.
“Their profiles really suit the race where as most of the others, there are probably more suitable targets,” he said.
“Montefilia, she’s best kept at shorter trips and for horses like Lindermann and Manzoice, they just haven’t quite come up,” he said. “There are a few in there still but they’d be pretty doubtful.”
An imported horse by the name of Scriptwriter remains in the Melbourne Cup declarations with Waller considering a Geelong Cup run to attempt to qualify.
“It’s a long shot but he’s out at Werribee (quarantine) and we might send him to Geelong to see how he performs.”
Also considered a long-shot Melbourne Cup candidate is the only three-year-old to be paid up at first declaration stage, by the name of Medatsu.
“He’s a really nice staying horse and while it’s a real longshot him getting there (Cup), he’ll go to the Spring Champion and then (Victoria) derby and we’ll see where we are.”