Melbourne Cup winner Gold Trip a likely Moonee Valley runner

The Ciaron Maher and David Eustace stable is favouring starting Gold Trip in a benchmark 100 race at Moonee Valley to kick-off the stayer’s spring campaign.

Last year’s Melbourne Cup winner is entered for the Group 2 Feehan Stakes (1600m) as well as the 2040m benchmark 100 Handicap on Saturday, and after a gallop at The Valley on Tuesday morning Maher said the longer race was favoured.

“The way that he has been trialling up, I think he will travel better at the 2000 metres and there’s a maximum handicap there of 62 kilos,” Maher said.

“We ran Right You Are and Smokin’ Romans at that weight in a similar type of race a few weeks back and it works pretty well for those better horses coming back.

“We might look at that ahead of the Feehan, but we’ll keep an eye on the tracks as well.”

Maher said track conditions are important for Gold Trip as he builds towards a title defence of his Melbourne Cup crown from 12 months ago.

He said he was pleased with how Gold Trip has been performing in trackwork and in jump-outs and was especially happy to see the rain that fell on Monday night.

“There was a bit of rain around last night and he does enjoy tracks with some give,” Maher said.

“And the track was in good order (for him) this morning, so we are guided a little bit by that as to his program.

“His aim is to get into The Cup and the best way there will be for a shower of rain now and then and we’ll be following that.”

The Maher and Eustace stable has the four top-weighted horses entered in the 2040m contest at The Valley on Saturday with Gold Trip their only likely starter in the race.

While Gold Trip has 62 kilos, Maher said that weight would likely be offset by an apprentices’ claim.

“He’s way out of the handicap (with a rating of 117) in that sort of race, but the topweight is capped and we can claim off that, so he will get in not too bad,” Maher said.

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