Floating Artist sets sights on Melbourne Cup 2023

Floating Artist ($5) has notched up his first win since winning an open handicap in September 2021, taking out the Xtreme Freight Handicap (2040m) at Benchmark 100 level.

In that time he’s placed in a Group 3 Coongy Handicap (2000m) and a Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m), as well as running fourth to Verry Elleegant in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) but injury niggles have meant he’s now raced just four times since.

An encouraging run first up at Flemington gave Floating Artist the fitness to deny a small but handy field, given a great ride by apprentice Thomas Stockdale to beat Deepstrike ($8) by 1-¾ lengths, with stablemate Flash Flood ($3.10 fav at boombet) a long head away in third.

David Eustace, who trains in partnership with Ciaron Maher, was thrilled to see the horse back in winning form and suggested better races may be in store in the Spring.

“He was off the track for a very long time and they (the owners) have done a really fantastic job to be patient and full credit to the horse, he’s incredibly tough. It’s just great to win another race with him,” Eustace said.

Originally an English import, Floating Artist has plenty of options as the racing starts to heat up although ultimately another crack at the Melbourne Cup would be the dream.

“Whether he sort of stays at that trip or we go up in grade, I think he’ll be running in Cups, which ones they are, we’ll see. We’ll look after him, make sure he’s not racing on ground too firm.. what races they are he’ll tell us as we gradually go up in trip and grade,” Eustace said.

Thomas Stockdale, who had run fourth on Floating Artist at Bendigo earlier this year, rode his first winner for Maher & Eustace and

“He’s just got such great attributes, he can turn it on at all distances… he got into a beautiful rhythm and was able to build momentum at the right time and really let rip when I asked him to and didn’t want to pull up so I think he’s in for super prep,” Stockdale said.

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