Short back-up for Character in the Australian Derby

Godolphin three-year-old Character is poised to back-up in the ATC Australian Derby after scoring a tough win in the rescheduled Tulloch Stakes at Newcastle.

The Group 2 race was one of seven washed out at Rosehill on Saturday and rescheduled to Newcastle on Monday.

Darren Beadman, assistant to Godolphin trainer James Cummings, said the pre-race plan had been to head to this weekend’s Group 1 classic off a five-day turnaround, provided Character came through the run well.

Starting at $4.60, the gelding trailed the speed for Tommy Berry and after getting the better of eventual third placegetter Sword Point ($4 fav), he held on to down New Zealander Regal Lion ($21) by a length with Sword Point another 1-1/4 lengths away.

“I made mention to Tommy that if you’re going to win, leave a little bit in the tank and a little bit on the bone because he might back up in a few days’ time,” Beadman said.

“It was certainly a nice pipe-opener for him.”

Berry said the horse raced fresh after missing his scheduled run on the weekend and he felt the hit-out would be beneficial ahead of Saturday’s 2400 metre assignment.

However, he also admitted it wasn’t as easy a task as he had hoped for in Monday’s 1850 metre race.

“I think I have probably knocked that edge off him, which was good because the way he raced today, if he did that over 2400 it would probably find him out, but it might be a good thing for him,” Berry said.

“He’s had a decent blow. They ran along quite well and I had to use him up before the corner to get on the back of James (McDonald on Sword Point) so it wasn’t as easy a run as I would have liked to have for him.”

The final field and barrier draw for the Australian Derby will be announced on Tuesday morning.

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