Melbourne Cup 2023 favourite White Marlin set for Pakenham task

The delay of the William Newton VC Handicap of two days is not expected to have an adverse effect on the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained White Marlin.

The William Newton VC Handicap (2000m) has been transferred from the Anzac Day meeting at Flemington on Tuesday to being the first race at the Pakenham night meeting on Thursday.

Racing in Victoria on Anzac Day was cancelled following the death of jockey Dean Holland in a race fall at Donald on Monday.

Bott said the delay should not affect White Marlin’s progress to his main aim this campaign, the Listed Andrew Ramsden (2800m) at Flemington on May 13.

“The horse is in good shape, so things haven’t changed too much for him,” Bott told RSN.

“We’re very keen to go to the Andrew Ramsden. That has been the plan all the way along and that will be the Grand Final for this preparation.

“This run will hopefully top him off nicely and have him ready to peak third-up when it counts.

“We’ve tried to follow a similar campaign to what he had last preparation and it worked well for him being third-up at Flemington, so we’ve stuck to a similar sort of campaign.”

White Marlin is unbeaten in six career starts and shown equal effectiveness on wet and dry ground.

The stayer won over 2800m third-up last campaign at Flemington on Melbourne Cup and Waterhouse and Bott are trying to get White Marlin to that race this year.

The Andrew Ramsden offers a ballot exemption into November’s 3200m race.

Bott said no decision had been made on a spring program for White Marlin and stablemate Goldman who earned a Melbourne Cup ballot exemption by winning the Listed Roy Higgins (2600m) at Flemington last month.

“It would be nice to split them up,” Bott said.

“We try and split the stablemates wherever we can, but no doubt there will be certain races that are better lead-ups, so if the right race is there and it means they have to clash, so be it.”

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