While international visitor The Gold Trail commands most attention going into the Listed Mornington Cup, Sheikh Mohammed also has another chance with a locally-trained horse from his global Godolphin operation.
The Gold Trail is trained by Charlie Appleby in the northern hemisphere and has been sent to Australia in a bid to qualify for October’s Caulfield Cup via the ballot exemption on offer to the winner of Saturday’s Mornington Cup (2400m).
The Gold Trail, a winner at Doncaster in England and in Dubai at his past two starts, is the $2.50 favourite while Godolphin’s Australian trainer John O’Shea has dual Group One-placed galloper Tally in the race as a $10 chance.
Tally was a dual Group Two winner as a three-year-old and was runner-up in the Group One Australian Derby over the Mornington Cup distance last season.
The four-year-old gelding is coming off a last-start seventh in the Australian Cup (2000m) and O’Shea has taken the winkers off and re-applied blinkers for the first time since his 12th in last year’s Caulfield Cup.
“Tally’s got strong form lines coming out of the Australian Cup where not a lot went his way,” O’Shea said.
“He got badly interfered with in the straight.”
“He’s out to a mile-and-a-half, he drops back in grade and has the blinkers back on.
“It would be preferable if he could get his toe in the ground a bit.”
The other Listed race on the Mornington program is the Hareeba Stakes (1100m) for which the Mick Price-trained Bassett is the $4 favourite.