Progressive stayer Laidback Larry can take another step towards the BMW Caulfield Cup when he lines up in Saturday’s $120,000 Listed Sportingbet Mornington Cup Prelude (2000m) at Caulfield.
Unbeaten in his past four starts, including three wins this preparation, trainer Gai Waterhouse is looking to the $350,000 Listed Mornington Cup (2400m) on February 12 with the four-year-old.
With the Mornington Cup offering a ballot exempt entry into the Caulfield Cup for the winner, Waterhouse’s foreman Mark Newnham confirmed that was the plan for the exciting stayer.
“He’s a horse that has improved rapidly,” Newnham said. “He’s a slow-maturing, typical Kiwi-bred type of horse that showed promise early but just needed a little bit of time and he is now showing the benefits of Gai giving him that time.
“The (Mornington Cup) prize money is good and if you happen to win you get an entry into the Caulfield Cup so it’s great to be a part of.”
Following two wins in restricted company, the son of O’Reilly really gave a glimpse of his potential with a four-and-a-half length win over 2000m at Randwick last start.
Part of a strong team of horses currently in Melbourne for Waterhouse, which will likely include Emirates Melbourne Cup champion Fiorente as of this weekend, Newnham said Waterhouse was very happy with the way Laidback Larry worked at Flemington on Wednesday morning.
“Gai came down to Melbourne this morning and watched him work and she was really happy with the way he went,” he said
“He’s a fast stayer if that makes sense. He has run good sectionals from the front at his past three runs but he has also won coming from off the pace as well so he’s versatile.
“Gai’s not really sure where his limit is because he’s got a very good winning record and we’ve never been to the bottom of him yet.”
Drawn in barrier 13 for Damien Oliver on Saturday, Laidback Larry has opened as the $2.50 fixed odds favourite.
Newnham said the gelding would likely form half of a two-pronged Mornington Cup assault for Waterhouse, with last start Australia Day Cup (2400m) winner Travolta also likely to target Australia’s richest country cup.
In related news, Waterhouse will use Saturday’s Caulfield program to unveil another two of her Melbourne carnival stars with Blue Diamond Stakes hopeful Nayeli set to line up in the $135,000 Mal Seccull Chairman’s Stakes (1100m) and talented three-year-old Bull Point resuming in the $135,000 John Moule Manfred Stakes (1200m).
A most impressive third in the $1 million Golden Rose (1400m) last start, leading jockey Damien Oliver has opted to partner Bull Point over the Tony Vasil-trained colt Prince Harada.
Priced at $4.40 in the Manfred Stakes, behind only Prince Harada at $3, Bull Point is currently rated a $9 chance in the early betting for the $1 million Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 1.
Set to be partnered by Vlad Duric from barrier four, Nayeli has opened the $3.50 Chairman’s Stakes favourite on the back of her debut win over subsequent Inglis Classic (1200m) victor Peggy Jean at Randwick Kensington.
– Racing Victoria