Amur chases another Moonee Valley first

Small fields and Godolphin colt Amur go hand-and-hand at Moonee Valley.

The James Cummings-trained Amur is unbeaten in two starts at The Valley and kicks off his three-year-old campaign in the Membership On Sale Plate (1200m) on Saturday.

Amur won his first two starts over Saturday’s course and distance, scoring on debut against five opponents on December 24, returning four weeks later over the same trip to defeat four rivals.

On Saturday he has eight opponents – before any race day scratchings.

Amur was not considered by Godolphin for the top echelon of two-year-old races in the autumn, namely the Blue Diamond Stakes and the Golden Slipper, but after four runs in Melbourne he returned to Sydney to claim the Group 3 Baillieu Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill.

That came after Amur finished third in the Group 2 VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Flemington.

The Godolphin team has given Amur two barrier trials in Sydney to kick off his campaign, finishing second to stablemate Tom Kitten over 800m at Hawkesbury before running third over 1030m at Rosehill on August 8.

Cummings said it was interesting that a horse with the physique of Amur was able to be unbeaten in his two starts at Moonee Valley.

“It might help the horse as he could end up in a tricky spot from that draw (barrier 6), the way the map might unfold,” Cummings said.

“If he can accelerate into the clear and win, a first-up win would bode very well for the horse’s campaign.”

While Amur had size and strength as a two-year-old, Cummings said the colt had continued to grow and strengthen between preparations.

And the trainer likes the way the colt has prepared for his first-up run.

“I like the way he’s trained,” Cummings said.

“He can run a race first-up and he’s in quite well in under the set weights and penalty conditions.”

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