Spring Cups campaign starts for First Immortal

A campaign aimed at gaining a start in the big spring Cups double later in the year, kicks off for First Immortal at Caulfield.

The Mark and Levi Kavanagh-trained stayer kicks off in the Listed Anniversary Vase (1600m) on Saturday, his first outing since finishing seventh in the Geelong Cup (2400m) last October.

Levi Kavanagh said the stable was looking towards the Listed Mornington Cup (2400m) next month and the Listed Andrew Ramsden Stakes (2800m) at Flemington in May as potential autumn-winter targets for First Immortal.

A ballot exemption is available for the Caulfield Cup and the Melbourne Cup in the spring for winners at Mornington and Flemington respectively.

First Immortal was headed on a path towards the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups last spring, but his lightweight in both races meant he was too far down the entry order.

It forced the Kavanagh’s to chase a Cup start rather than plan for it with the four-year-old.

“We haven’t locked in anything, but at this stage we’re heading to the Mornington Cup and the Andrew Ramsden,” Kavanagh said.

“That’s the sort of path we like and keep him at home, but there are plenty of options there.

“We’ll see how he comes through his first run and where he heads to next will be based on that.

“We had a bit of pressure on last year but didn’t quite get into the races we wanted to as we didn’t have the ratings for it.

“We’ve got a higher rating now, but it certainly can take the pressure off if we can win one of them.”

First Immortal has had two jump-outs at Flemington in preparation for his return.

Kavanagh said Saturday’s 1600m journey was short of the stayer’s best trip, adding it was a nice race to kick-off the preparation.

“We’re looking forward to running. It’s a seven-horse field and we’ve drawn the outside,” Kavanagh said.

“We’re happy with him. He’s had a couple of jump-outs, his latest last week at Flemington.

“This is going to be short of his best distance, but you have to start somewhere, and this looks like a good race for him to kick off the preparation.”

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