Racing: Work to decide Cup start

New Zealand's only Caulfield Cup hope fanatic will have to satisfy connections before lining up on Saturday. Photo / File.
New Zealand's only Caulfield Cup hope fanatic will have to satisfy connections before lining up on Saturday. Photo / File.

Trainer Graeme Sanders will watch New Zealand Oaks winner Fanatic work in Melbourne this morning before confirming a start for the mare in Saturday's A$3 million Caulfield Cup.

Final declarations for the 2400m feature, which cost A$24,750, close at noon today.

The Caulfield Cup has long been on Fanatic's dance card and the 4-year-old s seems assured of being among the top 18 in the order of entry.

She travelled to Melbourne last Wednesday but took a couple of days to settle in and Sanders, who flew over on Sunday, wants to satisfy himself that she is ready for the weekend.

"She didn't travel over as well as we would have liked," Sanders' daughter and training partner, Debbie Sweeney, said yesterday. "She lost a bit of weight on the trip and took a couple of days to settle in.

"But Michelle Strawbridge, who is looking after her, said she was back eating on Saturday morning and was really happy with her this morning. She felt the horse was back on track.

"It was always our intention to run this weekend, which is why the mare went over last week."

Fanatic, who is the only New Zealand-trained horse in contention for the Cup, proved herself at 2400m when relegating Sofia Rosa to second in the New Zealand Oaks in March. Fanatic was second across the line, beaten a nose by Sofia Rosa, but was promoted to first.

Fanatic was unplaced in two starts at the Hawke's Bay Spring Carnival. Her fresh-up run was over 1400m, and she never got into contention in the Windsor Park Plate (1600m), after settling back on the rails.

She was to have completed her Caulfield Cup buildup in the Livamol Classic (2040m) but was scratched when the rain came. "I'm pleased we pulled her out," Sweeney said. "She didn't need to run on a wet track before she went to Melbourne.

"She's very clean-winded and doesn't need a lot of fast work or racing. She has had a lot of slow work put into her and is pretty fit. We were really happy with her before she went over [to Melbourne]."

A number of horses have dropped out of Caulfield Cup contention in the past fortnight and Victorian mare Jameka is a dominating favourite in the futures market.

Jameka, a 4-year-old, was as short as $3.40 with the New Zealand TAB on Monday and at $1.35 to finish in the top four.

She will be having her fifth run for the season on Saturday, with her four leadup runs producing a win and two placings. She was the runner-up to Hartnell in the Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at her last start and was more than three lengths clear of third.

At her previous start, she won the Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield by almost four lengths

Jameka's 3-year-old season showed that she was classy and durable.

She had 10 starts at three, six of them at group one level, and never finished further back than fifth.

She consistently took on the leading male 3-year-olds, as well as the top fillies.

Jameka, a Myboycharlie mare, is trained at Caulfield by Ciaron Maher.

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