Gold Trip has shown he is on track for another tilt at the Melbourne Cup after staging a last-to-first win in the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington.
Last year’s Melbourne Cup winner was in last place when the field swung for home in the Group 1 race over 2000m on Saturday before jockey Mark Zahra brought him to the outside in the straight.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Gold Trip wins the Turnbull Stakes.
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Overhauling the leaders inside the final 200m, Gold Trip ($19) raced away to a one and three quarters length win from UK visitor West Wind Blows ($6.50) with Soulcombe ($6) a long neck away in third.
Trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace enhanced their hand in this year’s Cup with Gold Trip’s dominant performance after Future History led throughout in The Bart Cummings (2520m) to claim a ballot exemption into Australia’s greatest race.
Maher thinks it was possibly Gold Trip’s best performance.
“If you can say that from a Melbourne Cup winner,” Maher said.
“He was dynamic today and very impressive.”
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Gold Trip won the Turnbull Stakes. Credit: Getty
Maher said there would be some discussion with connections as to whether Gold Trip follows the same path into the Melbourne Cup as last year.
Gold Trip ran second in the Caulfield Cup before finishing ninth in the Cox Plate ahead of his Melbourne Cup victory.
“I think Mark will be trying to push us towards the Cox Plate now because I think he might have one in the Caulfield Cup,” Maher said.
“Anyway, he might have a bit of thinking to do now.
“He’s good at a mile-and-a-half, the weather plays into it, and you see how dynamic he was with a bit of cut in the track today.”
Zahra said it was an unbelievable victory that had left him tingling.
“I can’t believe he won like that. What a win,” Zahra said.
“He’s such a lazy horse in the run. Ever since I’ve ridden him, I’ve just let him drop out and find his feet which he really appreciates.
“When I asked him to pick up, a couple of times at the 1000 and the 800 he came up underneath me.
“I just needed a bit of room in the straight and when it presented at the top of the straight, the rest is history.”
He did it easily in the end. Credit: Reg Ryan/Racing Photos via Getty Images
Zahra suggested after defeating a number of Cox Plate contenders on Saturday, including Hong Kong galloper Romantic Warrior, that that was the race he would be recommending to connections.
“The way he won why wouldn’t you go there,” Zahra said.
“I just love being on his back. If they’ve got any brains, then they’ll go to the Cox Plate (instead of the Caulfield Cup).
“It’ll all work out perfectly for everyone.”
Romantic Warrior, who was sent out the $2.45 favourite under James McDonald, finished fourth, just under four lengths from the winner.
Trainer Danny Shum said the Hong Kong star would improve ahead of his next assignment in the Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 28.
“James said don’t panic,” Shum said.
“The horse had a big blow and he got tired in the last 100 metres, so he didn’t give him a hard time.
“It’s exactly what we said, he’s not 100 per cent fit yet.
“This race will bring him spot on for the Cox Plate.”
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